You know that dispatchers are first responders, that dispatchers are heroes, that dispatchers make a difference. If you’ve made it this far, chances are high that you support dispatch.
But sometimes, it all sounds like a platitude. We’re not running into burning buildings or arresting bad guys. We’re often looked at as if we’re glorified secretaries, paper pushers, poorly practiced primates primed to pick up phones and shamelessly use alliteration from time to time (okay, that last part is true).
But really, we’re working hard behind the scenes, providing a valuable piece to emergency work. As an example, let me share this email received from our ambulance personnel:
We were dispatched to an incident requiring an ambulance. This situation was complicated by a limited-English speaking caller. The Communication Center staff did an excellent job attempting to communicate and get information so that we could respond with accuracy. The initial dispatch location was vague at best, but we did have a general idea and went that direction.
In the end, the Communication Center staff were able to send a “pinned” location via text to our cell phones. Once this was completed, we were able to determine that we were in the general area, but not close enough. We could have driven around the initial location for minutes without ever having found the patient.
The quick action and out-of-the-box thinking from the Communication Center’s staff are undoubtedly credited with saving this individual’s life!! Upon arrival, he was found to have sustained massive trauma with grave injuries and ineffective breathing. The seconds saved in response by their quick action enabled us to intervene, literally in the nick of time!
Just soak that up with me. “Communication Center’s staff are undoubtedly credited with saving this individual’s life!!” It’s like a warm blanket. It’s hot cocoa. Nice work, dispatch!
You might say that it’s all in a day’s work. That’s what you’re paid for. And you know, you’re not wrong in principal, but you wouldn’t say that to any member of the ambulance service. Just like any other first responder, we’re not here for the praise. It is a job, but it’s so much more than that. Sometimes, we are the only thing making sure that you can go home to your family, and when someone calls upon us, we rise to the occasion with the best of them.
It’s powerful stuff. Dispatch literally stared the Grim Reaper down and said “not today.” Maybe that’s hyperbole. Or maybe it’s not.