What Was Your Worst Call?

by an Anonymous Dispatcher

At one time or another, anyone who has worked in Emergency Services for more than a few months will get asked, what was your worst call?  This is a question we hate after being asked the first time.  How do you quantify and qualify “the worst?” Does “the worst” have specific requirements for people asking the question? My “worst” and your “worst” could have two totally different definitions. Should it be based on number of people injured or killed ? How about extent of injuries? Or what about what could possibly motivate people to do some of the heinous things they do?

Time and time again dispatchers get dismissed because they don’t respond to the scene and see the wreckage of the calls they handle. They are being told that what we hear “isn’t that bad”…we should be able to handle any and everything without it impacting us.  I would love to find a human being that can listen to what we hear and not be impacted. A mother discovering their baby dead due to no fault of her own. Hearing the sound a parent makes when the one thing they love more than themselves is gone and there is nothing they can do. Continue reading “What Was Your Worst Call?”

The Lights in Shadow Land

by Careen Condrotte

Once upon a time, the stories will tell
About a place here on Earth, between heaven and hell.
Where one need not sleep, to have the bad dreams
Because the flashbacks seem real, the smells and the screams.

For despite valiant efforts, sometimes they lose.
For some there are answers, but not many clues.
The cards stacked against them, the odds not very good
No… they didn’t give up, but did all that they could.

Everyone somber, a tear here and there.
Others are angry, some had The Thousand Yard stare.
“Welcome to Shadow Land”, a voice whispered softly.
“It’s a dark place to be, and the shadows are costly.” Continue reading “The Lights in Shadow Land”

Just a Dispatcher

by An Anonymous Dispatcher

You’re just a dispatcher. You know nothing, and you see nothing, so it can’t bother you.

Really? Dispatchers don’t see anything. They should all be fine.

These are just some of the things many dispatchers are told during their careers. On the surface, these comments may sound reasonable, logical, and correct. After all, they spend eight to twelve hours a day answering phones and responding to the radio, how bad could it be?

We are inside, typically in a climate-controlled environment. We can utilize a restroom when needed. We don’t get stuck on long perimeters. And we lack the face-to-face contact with the community we serve. It sounds easy…it sounds like the secretary that so many like to define us as being. Continue reading “Just a Dispatcher”

Reflections on Times Past with PTSD

by Bubba

Over the next few days, most, if not all of us, will start reflecting on the last year, which turns into years.  For me, this year means seeing a list of failures and loss in some areas, and gains in others. 

The negative for the year is, of course, easy to see. First, I didn’t get my medical retirement status finalized. I can’t get my disability status made permanent because they are busy fighting with Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), my former agency is contesting everything to be just more of themselves.  Recently, my service dog had to be put down and the process of finding a new one is less than easy or quick.  Continue reading “Reflections on Times Past with PTSD”

MAKE THE SCREAMS STOP

by Cindy Armstrong

Cindy armstrong_1
Cindy Armstrong

One day I went for an interview to become an EMS Dispatcher and then I was hired.
I was told that I wouldn’t make it a year, as I’d get stressed out and tired.
So excited getting the first few calls, I knew that I wanted to help people all the more.
Helping others is all I ever wanted to do, but little did I know what was in store.

With each call different from the next, they started to come in, one by one.
There were accidents, people with burns, stabbings, and a man with a gun.
There was difficulty breathing, chest pain, abdominal pain, and a fall to the floor,
The ambulances were sent and the paramedics would respond with a big “10-4”.

Continue reading “MAKE THE SCREAMS STOP”