Dispatchers Remember the Memorable

There are so many articles and memes about calls a dispatcher receives. The scariest, the funniest, the best, the worst, the drunkest, the most inappropriate.

What truly amazes me though, is the fact that one phone call, one brief moment in time, can make such a lasting impact on us.

I can remember a “problem child” from 20 years ago, his name, address and phone number, and every detail of the final conversation we had the night his house caught fire. And yet, I cannot remember a call from yesterday, when someone needed directions.

I don’t remember suspects, but I remember victims. I remember every death and every birth. Or the elderly female who was home alone, and was so scared she was in tears because she heard noises outside. I remember the Alzheimer’s patient who called from his hospital room, petrified because he was certain he had been kidnapped. I remember the female who was screaming like she was being killed. (Only to discover that she thought she was being attacked by aliens coming through her hair dryer.)

Not to be lost in my memory are the frequent fliers, our mental patients, who kept weapons near their front door; or our special self-designated Neighborhood Watch members who thought we had to know EVERYTHING that happened.

Lost from my memory are the majority of calls that citizens thanked me . . . for sending a tow truck, or dispatching an officer on a barking dog call. I really couldn’t help them much, but I listened.

“Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things, even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want and do.”

~ Emmanuel Swedenborg

Perception is part of what makes us different. In that brief moment in time, during one of the caller’s worst life experiences, we have the power to make a lifelong, positive impact; an impact that not only affects the callers perception of us, but also the first responders, our department, and our community.

We have the power to make a difference! This is something every dispatcher needs to learn, and use it to its full advantage. Always make a positive impact on those who call us for help. That is our job, not only as dispatchers, but human beings.

– Lara