For some time now there has been some debate between a friend and I over the importance of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher ... Of course he is a Paramedic and Im a Firefighter/EMT who is also a Trained and accredited Emergency Telecommunicator/EMD
Ive told him that alot of times We are the first person that makes contact with their patients before they are ever dispatched to the call, and thanks to early CPR and in some cases early Defib There has been countless lives saved. Of course being a New Medic My friend will have none of this kind of talk and has told Me that all we do in Dispatch is Answer phones and enjoy the Air conditioning and watch TV.. while they are out slaving in the hot sun.
Of course alot of people dont understand what it is that a Telecommunicator does during his or her day. While you are taking EMS calls We are taking EVERY Call.. Police, Fire, EMS, Rescue, Coroner, EMA, Utilities, We get to hear the screams of dying people and Only do our very very best to help people save the life of their loved ones whether it be telling somebody how to do CPR over the phone, or how to administer a shock from an AED or something as simple as contacting Poison control , or talking with somebody through their problems and thwarting a suicide attempt
the point of this rant is this.. There is no one entity thats more important than another, We are all on the same team here folks and a bit of respect can go a long way. Everybody is dependent upon everybody else and We can not provide effective service alone..
We are a Team. and Every Team needs a Quarterback
I just happen to Be Your Quarterback
Sgt. Bobby J. King
Madison County Div of Emergency Services
Madison County Fire
Your friend has obviously never sat in that chair and listened to the hysterical screams pleading for you to help their child, spouse, mother, etc. Never sat in that chair and heard gunshots in the background while the crew is yelling they are backing out. Been there, done that, and you can have it.
Even though I want to reach through the radio mike and strangle a couple of mine, I take my hat off to you. In today's times, sometimes it is just the feeling you get that tells you something isn't right with the call, and you have us stage for law enforcement, that ends up keeping us alive to make to another day.
I started as an EMT/EMD. This is what I have done to the folks that think all we do is answer phones, I have put them in the hot seat. Try and answer the 911 call, try to calm the frantic mother who's kid isn't breathing, go ahead mister Paramedic, use your skills over the phone. Most of the time, those folks walk out of there with a new found sense of respect of the EMD.
I know exactly what you mean. I am a full time dispatcher in a small E-911 center in my county. We have three dispatchers on shift from 6am to 2am and only two from 2am to 6am, who are close enough to spit on each other. We answer three business lines, five 911 trunks, deal with the walk-in public, dispatch for sixteen fire & rescue units, two ambulance services, four city police departments, sheriff's department and anyone else who happens to be in our county at the time. Not to mention entering and filing criminal warrants for all the law enforcement agencies, calling utilities and anything else that the people of our society deems fit to put on us and the list gets longer everyday. Most larger centers that I have seen have enough staffing to only have a specific job such as call taker, dispatcher, warrant filer, etc. Not us, we do it all at the same time.
Like many of you I have been yelled at, cussed out and called everything in the book by an often ungrateful public who could care less about how important and stressful our job is. What is really great is when you get blamed because the officer or firefighter/emt did something they didn't like. The topper is when we are too busy to even think straight and the firefighter/emt or officer on the other end of the radio is too impatient to wait for you to answer them regardless of how unimportant their traffic is. One little screw up on our part and the walls come down on us.
Lunch break, what is that? In our center we don't have the staffing or time to allow a lunch break while on shift. We just have to pray that we have enough time to scarf down a sandwich between radio traffic and the phone ringing. The best hope for any kind of a break is a prolonged restroom trip.
On the brighter side, in my five years I have had my joyous moments like saving a life due to EMD CPR or choking, staying on the line with a fading patient or a scared child, or knowing that my efforts caught a criminal or prevented a situation from getting worse. On another good note I am a volunteer fire chief and a reserve deputy sheriff. Being on both sides of the radio understand how it is on the other side. This has really helped me both in dispatch and in the field.
So, too all my dispatch brothers and sisters, my rant is over, stay safe, stay motiviated.