2 am, 5/16/2013
Wit, Wisdom, and Whimsy. (your mileage may vary)
May 16, 2013
2 am, 5/16/2013
May 8, 2013
Should 9-1-1 operators kiss your ass, or save it?
Recent news coverage of the escape of three women from a decade long imprisonment, after their kidnappings as teens, has many people commenting on a perceived lack of empathy or concern for the victims on the part of the 9-1-1 operators in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the criticism is unwarranted.
Amanda Berry, the woman who escaped from the house, can be heard calling 9-1-1, here. The call by the man who assisted her, Charles Ramsey, can be heard here. Go listen, then come back and let me give you my take on the calls.
Ok, back? Before we begin, a reminder: I’m a 9-1-1 dispatcher. I’ve been employed in this position by a county Sheriff’s Department in Central California since July of 1994. Which county is not germain, as this commentary is my personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of that agency.
That said, now it’s time to decide – should the 9-1-1 operator kiss your ass, or save it?
April 12, 2013
I don’t often order people around on 9-1-1 calls. It’s not my place to tell them what to do, or how to behave. My job is simply to gather information, and dispatch the appropriate equipment and people to deal with their emergency. This morning a 9-1-1 call came in that tossed all my training right out the window. I had to use my “cop voice”, and order someone (and it took several times) to do something. I really don’t recall the last time I’ve done that.
This morning’s call, however, had me in full “get your ass back home right now!” mode.
April 9, 2013
“Daisy”, our newest K9, visits us during a slow moment in dispatch. Until she’s trained, her primary attack form will be licking people into submission.
April 6, 2013
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” (just before midnight)
“My chicken got loose and it’s in my neighbor’s back yard. Can I go back there and get it? Nobody’s answering the door.”
I convinced him it would be a bad idea to go into his neighbor’s back yard at midnight, trying to capture his chicken. He claimed it was his livelihood, but I’m figuring it’s not some remarkable stud animal. I told him I’d send a deputy to speak to him about his options (I was glad I wouldn’t be the one actually dispatching the call…. ”see the man about a chicken”), but he declined, as he said he’d been drinking a fair amount, and didn’t want to speak to a cop.
A few minutes later, the neighbor calls 9-1-1, reporting a strange man beating on his front door, looking for a chicken!
By the time we did dispatch a deputy to check the area, the man out looking for his unleashed cock had gone home, the neighbor went back to bed, and I have no idea what happened to the bird.
Another night in the life of a 9-1-1 dispatch center in the heart of ag country.
“9-1-1, what’s YOUR emergency?? “
March 25, 2013
(SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen this movie, and you want to be surprised, you may not want to read any further.)
(Oh, what the hell. Read it anyway. If you can’t enjoy a movie even though you know a bit about it, then you really don’t belong in a movie theater to begin with. Their business model is predicated on repeat viewings.)
The first thing you should know about the portrayal of 9-1-1 dispatchers in this movie is that it’s exactly spot on. The movie makers could not have gotten it better if they were 9-1-1 dispatchers themselves, and writing a movie to show precisely what happens in the dispatch center. From the spacious dispatch floor, the modern, well laid out and controlled computer equipment, to the big screen televisions and the comfortable “quiet room”, nobody should doubt how well 9-1-1 dispatchers have it at work.
The most important thing to remember, however, is this: If you piss off, or otherwise get a dispatcher wound up, we will hunt you down. What ‘Jordan’ (Halle Berry) does to the protagonist (i.e. – the bad guy, AKA the perp, politely – the ‘suspect’) is nothing compared to what a *REAL* 9-1-1 dispatcher will do to you!
March 8, 2013
So I’ve seen the promos at the theater. A lot of the background looks realistic, the situation has happened before. What I’m not to sure about is the idea that she gets involved in a call. “This one made it personal”. I’m hoping for the best. It is Hollywood, so there’s no telling what will happen. Just remember, it’s only a movie! (unless it’s really, really good. Then it’s exactly like our center, and we’re all heroes like Halle Berry.)
Want the picture with YOUR jurisdiction in the map background? Here.
January 23, 2013
Sending text messages to 9-1-1 is something few PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) are ready to receive. The ability is in the works, however, and the FCC is working with carriers and 9-1-1 centers to roll out the service beginning this year. If you attempt to send a text message to a 9-1-1 center that is not capable of receiving it, after June 30, 2013 you will get a “bounce back” message telling you to use other means to reach 9-1-1. Prior to June 30, you will receive no notice that your message did not go through. Equipment upgrades and policy decisions must still be implemented in most PSAPs before they will be able to respond to text based 9-1-1 calls. If you intend to use text messages as a way to contact 9-1-1, you should check with your local PSAP to find out when they will be able to receive and act on your message. Until then, use voice, TTY, or relay services to reach 9-1-1.
January 13, 2013
A Twitter commentary by an EMT. Just another day at the office! Read from the bottom up.
January 7, 2013
Sometimes things look just fine in the brain, but by the time they get to the lips, there’s just no telling what may come out…
Sunday’s fumbly-mumbly radio traffic.