I spent 23 years in the Fire Department as a firefighter, EMT, Paramedic, and 911 call-taker, dispatcher, and supervisor. You would think that fighting a fire, providing care to a trauma patient, or administering CPR to an infant would be hard… and yes, without a doubt it was! However, nothing could have prepared me for working at the 911 Center.
At the time, I thought going to the 911 Center was a good career move, and generally speaking, it was! I had been a medic for almost 10 years, and it was time for change. Some of my close friends and colleagues thought I was crazy as they knew me to have a lot of energy and sitting in a chair for many hours would be a challenge. They were right, but wrong!
The move to the 911 Center proved to be more challenging than being a firefighter, EMT, or Paramedic! It was beyond stressful and something no one can truly understand until they live it, not even firefighters, EMTs, or Paramedics.
recently came across an amazing Facebook post and it truly hit home. Although I am retired now from the fire department and spend my days as a CPR instructor, this post was something I felt over my years at the 911 Center.
To all my fellow 911 brothers and sisters who serve their citizens, I thank you for your endless, tiring, stressful, and long days and nights! I know what you go through and I know what you feel. Thank you!
“Just A Dispatcher”
In order to understand who I am, you must first understand what I do.
I am the person who listens to you cry as you’re begging your mother to take another breath.
I am the person who tries to get you to give your father CPR knowing that he has passed but, in some way, may help you to know you did everything that you could.
I am the person who walks you thru the Heimlich maneuver while your child is choking on a toy.
I am the person who convinces you that life is worth living and that your family needs you here when you think that all hope is gone.
I am the person who leaves my family, my home, and put my own life in danger during snow, hurricanes and bad weather so that I may be here to answer your emergency.
I am simply “Just A Dispatcher” in most eyes.
To my family and friends please understand that when I’m short tempered or impatient it’s not you, it’s the weight of my job that may have taken a toll that day. Instead of bringing it home I choose to keep it bottled up to protect you from the reality of the world in which we live.
To my kids please understand when I’m strict and paranoid wanting to track your every movement it’s because I know that a child didn’t make it home to their family that day.
To my mother please forgive me for not having the patience to always sit thru your entire conversation, its only because I’m trained to get all pertinent information within a certain amount of time. So, I don’t have the patience that I use to.
To my friends please understand when I can’t show up for every birthday or event you may have invited me to. Or the times we aren’t able to talk on the phone to catch up, it may be because I may be working or too mentally drained to be there.
To the thousands of callers that I speak to that think that I’m “Just a Dispatcher” remember that I may not be the first to arrive at your house but I’m the first person that you may speak to on possibly one of the worse days of your life.
So, I will leave with a quote from Dr. Seuss “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.
Written By:Lynette McManus Jeter
Henrico County, Va
Are you RESCUE Ready?
- Is everyone trained and up to date with their certification?
- Do you have an AED at your business location?
- Is your AED being managed and checked on a consistent basis?
- Does your company have a First Aid kit?
- Does your First Aid kit include a STOP the BLEED Kit?