Fire Dispatcher Helps Save Trapped Occupants
Here is a great link of a dispatcher in New Castle County De. "doin the right thing" I got this in the latest edition of the secret list.
If you have never had the opportunity to sit on the other side if the dispatchers desk, it is a position many people hardly take seriously enough. You are often the first point of contact for people in some of the worst situations of their lives, literally. People depend on these folks to get them the help they need, many times desperately so.
I did 4 years p/t and f/t at a county dispatch center while I was going to college. I expierenced some pretty amazing things. While never coaching someone through surviving a fire, I did spend some time on the phone with a young lady who was hiding in a closet as an armed intruder ransacked her home. After that call, I needed a few minutes to destress. At the height of the call, the guy was in the same room as her, and I could hear him rummaging around. I knew she was within inches of being found, and her fate hung in the balance of time before the police got there. It isnt much different for someone trapped in a fire. I took a few calls from excited people whos homes were on fire and I had to urgently persuade them to get out. I also remember many, many times giving CPR instructions to people trying to revive their loved ones. You need to see this side of the job to appreciate it. It sucks being stuck at that desk not able to reach through the phone sometimes; but if you give it all you have, at least you can clock out and go home knowing you did your share.
The first few seconda of almost any 911 call tells you alot, sometimes the caller need not say a word. Smoke alarms beeping, people yelling, things crashing in the background, all of these sounds start to tell a story. A good dispatcher has to be able to communicate to the units in the field the "sense" they have for the call to acurately depict the scope of the job. Simple questions like tell me what color the smoke is, where is it coming from, is it a house or apartment, is anybody home etc. Some of you are lucky enough to have dispatchers who ask all the right questions, some arent.
If you ever have an opportunity to sit for a shift with the dispatchers, its a good thing, especially in busy areas. You will probably get a better appreciation for the other side of the radio/phone.