1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4

    Default Swearing in the Comm Center

    Recently our administration has begun a campaign to crack down on the use of curse words or swearing in the work place. They are using the city's Freedom From Harassment policy as the justification to impose discipline - up to and including termination - on employees who use language that the administration deems "offensive".

    A bit of background about our department: we have a full-time force of 9 dispatchers, a handful of part-time dispatchers, and a handful of police officers and firefighters who are dispatch trained. We typically work 2-3 dispatchers on a shift, working 12 hour shifts. We work in close quarters with no scheduled breaks.

    It really goes without saying that, just by the virtue of the job that we do and the people that we deal with (internally and externally), that public safety employees tend to be potty mouths. We use animated language as a harmless way to blow off stream and reduce stress. We are constantly ourselves the target of “curse words or swearing” by the people that we serve – be it police officers, fire fighters or the general public.

    In our case we are a tight-knit department. We know and respect the limits of our co-workers. No one is hesitant to speak up if something offends them. As best we can tell, the action being taken by the administration is not based on any specific complaint. Administration tries to treat the comm center as a “normal” business office, which it is anything but. They repeatedly fail to acknowledge and respect the dynamic of our work environment.

    I hope that others may be able to share similar experiences and ideas.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    I know how you feel. Where I work, sometimes management forgets that this is not just buiesness who's only goal in life is customer service and satisfaction. Sometimes the law needs to be layed down and sometimes the customer is simply not going like what we have to tell them or make them do. Boo hoo.

    As far as language goes, i think some of our supervisors have a worse mouth than I do. As long as it doesn't:

    A) Go over the radio
    B) Go over the phone to a non-combatent
    C) Overheard with non-combatents in the office

    Other than the above, it's all fair game. Believe me, if I couldn't mother F some of the people that call here up and down after hanging up the phone or letting go of the transmit button, I'd go out of my mind.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Tooanfrom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    whangaparaoa peninsular, north island
    Posts
    488

    Talking Out of turn?

    This a bit like the the two geezers in a pub===

    "How dare you swear in front of my wife!!"

    "Sorry mate, didn't realise it was her turn"

    Equal opps anyone?
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
    Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Cool

    We have some us that do get uhmmmmmm....."upset" with some callers, crews in the streets, if you cant swear you got no outlet for some of the dubest things you cant control. We are all on one floor here and it gets tough with the noise from other parts of the floor that are just LOUD .......we havent had any sacntions come down on us about our colorful vocabulary.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Emberxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    326

    Default

    As long as it doesn't get out of control, is heard on the radio, or is overheard by someone in the public - who cares what we say to each other at the station?

    Other than that - Thank God we don't have that policy at my department...cuz I'd be in real trouble if they did!
    Last edited by Emberxx; 08-07-2005 at 08:52 PM.
    "When you throw dirt, you lose ground."

    IACOJ

  6. #6
    Dispatch Dweller
    Jay911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    On the way to the station. Really. It's 12 kilometers away and there's traffic.
    Posts
    339

    Default

    Two things:

    1. Cursing is part of our daily life now. There are very few of the words "you can't say" any more, IMO. Not on the radio, of course - there's little call for it there. But like others said, it's a vent, a release, and it's necessary.

    2. I have a co-worker who insists that "this is an office", usually when she is arguing for us to have all the fluorescent lights blazing all hours of the night. First of all, no, it's not an office, it's a dispatch center, which is a completely different thing. People who think it's just "an office" also treat this as just "a job", and don't treat it with the respect and attention it needs (i.e. not caring about the goings-on on the other end of the radio). Second, lights on in the dead of night? With the personal task lighting and the inclusion of nearly every resource we have on illuminated computer screens, I find no reason to flood the room with blinding light. We work daytime and nighttime in rotating shifts, and people want to have the lights on all night when the sun has been up all day?

    Sorry for almost hijacking the thread. There's my 2 cents anyway.
    --jay.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    MrJim911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    225

    Default

    Cussing is just part of the job. If you weren't a "cusser" before, you will be soon after getting this job. Too bad admin can't see the big picture. We also have no such policy, although a temporary one was put in place once when we had a high school intern for a couple months.. and we all thoguht "like this high school student doesn't cuss...". I include the "work environment" in my orientation for potential new hires so they know what they're getting themselves into.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    dmleblanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
    Posts
    2,318

    Default

    Sorry, gotta disagree here....those who say that cussing is "necessary" or "unavoidable"....that's just a cop out and an excuse. When you're on a medical call, do you curse uncontrollably in front of your patient and his family? In front of your family? I'd assume most of you don't....it is NOT unavoidable and it is certainly NOT necessary to do the job.

    It's a sign of the decline in courtesy and consideration in America...this whole attitude of, "Well, I can't control my filthy mouth, you'll just have to get used to it". Is there cursing in the firehouse? Yeah, there is. But I think it's a pretty poor statement that it's necessary or unavoidable.

    We're supposed to be professionals...are you all honestly going to tell me that we can't do better? It's about respect and responsibility...respect for your co-workers who DON'T want to listen to foul language all day and responsibility for your own actions.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    Sorry, gotta disagree here....those who say that cussing is "necessary" or "unavoidable"....that's just a cop out and an excuse. When you're on a medical call, do you curse uncontrollably in front of your patient and his family? In front of your family? I'd assume most of you don't....it is NOT unavoidable and it is certainly NOT necessary to do the job.

    It's a sign of the decline in courtesy and consideration in America...this whole attitude of, "Well, I can't control my filthy mouth, you'll just have to get used to it". Is there cursing in the firehouse? Yeah, there is. But I think it's a pretty poor statement that it's necessary or unavoidable.

    We're supposed to be professionals...are you all honestly going to tell me that we can't do better? It's about respect and responsibility...respect for your co-workers who DON'T want to listen to foul language all day and responsibility for your own actions.
    Excuse me? No one here is suggesting you start cursing and verbally vommiting to the public or to patients. In fact, if you read what's been said, everyone has stated it takes behind closed doors, with phone on-hook and the radio un-keyed.

    And I have to agree with MrJim911. My language wasn't nearly as bad until I started dispatching.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    dmleblanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
    Posts
    2,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire
    Excuse me? No one here is suggesting you start cursing and verbally vommiting to the public or to patients. In fact, if you read what's been said, everyone has stated it takes behind closed doors, with phone on-hook and the radio un-keyed.

    .
    I was referring to those who said that cursing was "unavoidable" or even "necessary"....My point was, if you can curb your language in front of patients, your family, and the public, why can't you do the same around your co-workers? I'm not advocating nor condemning "colorful" language (Lord knows I use it myself on occasion), I'm just saying that to suggest that it's not possible to have a vulgarity-free workplace is silly.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    I was referring to those who said that cursing was "unavoidable" or even "necessary"....My point was, if you can curb your language in front of patients, your family, and the public, why can't you do the same around your co-workers? I'm not advocating nor condemning "colorful" language (Lord knows I use it myself on occasion), I'm just saying that to suggest that it's not possible to have a vulgarity-free workplace is silly.
    Why? Because you don't do your venting and releasing in front of the patient or one the phone with them. It's the patient and/or the caller that you are venting about so obvoiusly you wouldn't be on the phone with them. It's something that is done post-encounter.

    Could it be done with out swearing? I suppose. But saying "Golly gee. That silly individual sure doesn't seem to have their act together too well and seemed a little confused" just doesn't have the same effect as

    "HOLY CRAP! WHAT THE F__k IS WRONG WITH THESE MOTHER F($#ING *****H#!ES, DID THEY OVERDOSE ON GOD D@MN STUPID PILLS THIS MORNING! MAYBE THEY'LL CHOKE ON IT TOMMOROW!!"

    Sometimes you need to vent with a little more umph than Leave It to Beaver nicities. It makes you and your co-workers laugh and relieves stress that simply saying "That was silly" can do.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    MrJim911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    225

    Default

    Precisely; in a way it is a coping mechanism to stress and other negative feelings. "Golly gee" doesn't lower my blood pressure after talking with an idiotic caller, but "%&*$% *&@$#" does indeed make me feel better. If some easily offended person can't handle that they shouldn't even waste their time applying. It's typical that an administration would waste time trying to fix a cussing issue (aka: non-issue) rather then getting better training for their people and looking at how they can get better technology in their centers. Instead let's waste time on getting Billy to stop saying "****" because politically correct Carl is easily offended by 4 letter words that have been commonly used in the English language for a millenia....

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    The other thing on my side... my boss's vocabulary makes me look like a saint!
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Most of the time there is only one dispatcher in the office at a time anyway. So not only do I curse others I curse at myself to have a someone to talk to. If the mic ever stuck open I could be in serious pooh.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Well, here's my two-cents. I personally am not offended by an OCCASIONAL curse word, but conversations need not be peppered with them. And, quite frankly, some words still outshine others when it comes to the discomfort they cause people. This leads to one of the issues that needs to be covered. Employers are responsbile for maintaining a safe and non-threatening environment. Frequent salty language is probably a valid cause for complaint. As for blowing off steam after calls by swearing, I once supervised someone who was a good worker, but suddenly began going off after almost every call. As soon as the phone got hung up or the radio un-keyed he began spilling out a torrent of abuse. When I confronted him with it, he told me that "his doctor told him to do that to relieve his stress". I told him to go do it in his doctor's office and let him listen to it for eight hours then call me back if he still thought it was a good idea. Are calls occasionally going to cause reaction? You bet. But if many calls trigger a fit, then some serious counseling is needed. People calling 9-1-1 are not having a good day, and, yep, we're going to get some beauties. But, it is part of the job.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Or they call to ask dumb *** questions like what is the swimming pools #, what time does the fair start, what is Billy Bobs phone number, what time is the fireworks, what time does the parade start, what time do you start to serve your dinners, and the best one of all what is today. I have had all of these, most numerous times a day. Maybe we should answer the phone AT@T instead of what is your emergency. These are the type of idiots I curse.

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Memphis Tn,USA-now
    Posts
    5,436

    Default

    I agree with the sentiment that trying to curb people's language when they are relieving stress is going to be difficult if not futile.
    I've even gotten in trouble for using a cuss word or two and I wasn't even talking to or about the person who filed the complaint.Is it just me or do the people that demand tolerance for their not wanting to hear cuss words(I'm talking about just firing up the mill and letting fly,not when you slam you thumb with a hammer)seem to be the ones who don't tolerate others themselves?

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    77

    Default

    when you deal with the public in any way and you will end up saying stuff that you would not normaly say.

    my mother a God fearing woman never said a swear word in here life that i can remember other than D### once in a great while. until she started working at walmart. it was'nt very long after that she could give saliors lessons.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    48

    Default

    How many work in a political place. Meaning that politics has alot to do with anything. You wouldnt believe the stuff we have to take off of the public. We are not aloud to crack jokes on the radio with officers or other personell. Now I dont mean joke jokes, I mean "chit chat". Scanner land hears everything and it eventually makes it back to the Sheriff. Dont get me wrong I know how to be professional, but you have to break the monotony of the work place. I couldnt imagine working a 12hr shift. I have before, but we work 8hr shifts here. Like you we have no breaks. However, smokers are allowed three 5 minute smoke breaks a shift. We can walk around for a few mnutes but not long. There are only 2 on duty at a time. Bakc to the subject at hand. the Sheriff told us we didnt have to take a "cussing" from somebody. But as in all politics its their words against ours. So what to do. Take it and work another day.


    Be safe!
    Auk

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    Sorry, gotta disagree here....those who say that cussing is "necessary" or "unavoidable"....that's just a cop out and an excuse. When you're on a medical call, do you curse uncontrollably in front of your patient and his family? In front of your family? I'd assume most of you don't....it is NOT unavoidable and it is certainly NOT necessary to do the job.

    It's a sign of the decline in courtesy and consideration in America...this whole attitude of, "Well, I can't control my filthy mouth, you'll just have to get used to it". Is there cursing in the firehouse? Yeah, there is. But I think it's a pretty poor statement that it's necessary or unavoidable.

    We're supposed to be professionals...are you all honestly going to tell me that we can't do better? It's about respect and responsibility...respect for your co-workers who DON'T want to listen to foul language all day and responsibility for your own actions.
    Wish more people had your viewpoint. Dirty mouth = dirty mind. "Out of the heart's abundance the mouth speaks." (Bible)

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Blowing off steam is human nature, but one needs to act as if every word might be accidentally transmitted either over the radio, phone, etc. So if caught, one only needs to prepare for what is to come from the supervisor.

    No excuss for it to go over the air or overheard in the background at dispatch while on the phone.
    Last edited by captjab; 10-29-2005 at 09:34 PM.

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Not Going To Lie... I Do It Some... But Our Center Is Kind Of Bad About It. I Wish They Would Come Up With Some Rules About It But When You Have 15+ People All Cramed In One Room All Night Its Kind Of Hard To Enforce I Guess....
    J.E. Guzman
    NC EMT-Intermediate
    NC Emergency Medical Dispatcher
    NENA Emergency Medical Dispatcher
    NENA Emergency Telecommunicator

  23. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    28

    Thumbs up

    As far as cussing, you should always wait until someone else it talking on the radio and then say the preferred words so it is that "background" noise that we are all use to hearing.

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber
    savoy6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    60

    Default

    Each center is different. Mine we let loose, if something ****es you off let it fly, I don't care, I am old enough to know what offends me and what doesn't. Nobody else cares, least of all the supervisors. As long as it doesn't go over a phone line or radio it doesn't matter. They know this room is our room and they respect that and as long is as everything is being handled a few swear words isn't going to cause a problem.

    I have worked both sides of the radio and I have never found the need to swear in front of citizen or anyone for that matter, however there is something about the chair and four walls and computer screens that just brings out the best of my vocabulary. We even did the swear jar one year and believe me that was one hell of party, opps sorry one hec of a party.

    My point is if you have people in your comm center who take offense to swearing, well I guess you have to accommodate that and watch your language. Your job isn't worth a swearword or two.

    I agree with MRJIM, we let our new people know of the free fire zone and it's never been a problem.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register