Celebrating the Voices

I hear voices.

At least I used to hear voices, before I took this desk job at Headquarters, but before that, in the field, I heard voices.

The voices woke me from my sleep and interrupted meals more often than not and always seemed to know someone was ill or injured.  Most of the time anyway.

For all my griping about MPDS, dispatchers and call takers, they still show up everyday to do a job I would fake a seizure to not have to do.

They take the confused, rambling mumblings of someone, code it, send it and away I go to deal with the problem.  So what if it’s not always what they say it is, all they’re doing is telling us what someone told them.

And many times, after listening to some of these calls for QA purposes, “told” isn’t exactly the right word.

A man is shouting to please hurry! please hurry! but won’t say why or what is wrong.  He simply says please hurry.

The woman holding the lifeless baby can’t get a word through her screaming but the voice still tries to talk her through CPR.

The whispers of the young boy hiding in the closet while someone assaults his older brother in another room are barely discernible because the call taker next to them is dealing with the screaming mother from before.

The voices belong to a group of folks who aim to bring a few moments of sanity to an insane world, and all over the phone and the radio.

Call them dispatchers, broadcasters, call takers, whatever, they still always answer the phone and will always answer the radio when you need them to.

So call up your local dispatch center and see if they have an event planned.  If not, step up and put something together.

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One thought on “Celebrating the Voices”

  1. As someone who quite literally owes her life to one specific dispatcher, I say a very heartfelt thank you to all of the dispatchers out there. The work that you all do is quite simply amazing and life changing for all of those who are in a situation where we are required to, and have the privilege to talk to you.

    You are so often the forgotten people in Emergency Services, and yet to me, you are the people who saved my life. You are the people who found me, who traced my call, who directed police and other help to me. You are the people who provided me with a tiny glimmer of hope, a lifeline, that maybe, possibly there was a chance that I would get out of the situation I was in alive. Maybe I would see my family again, maybe I would see the sunrise again. Maybe I would be found before he killed me. You are the people who were there for me, who gave me that hope when I fully believed that none of that was going to be possible, when I knew that I was going to die.

    I will never, ever forget what it was like to finally be able to make a connection to another person, to tell them what was happening to me, and to finally know that somebody, somewhere knew that I needed help and was doing whatever they possibly could do to find me before it was too late.

    So from the very, very bottom of my heart – thank you. Thank you to each and every dispatcher out there. Thank you for each and every call you take, where you are able to remain calm and provide that lifeline and ray of hope to another person. I can say, without a shadow of doubt in my mind, that I will never forget the voice of the dispatcher who answered my call. I will never forget the person who found me before it was too late. It meant and means everything to me. I don’t know that there are words to truly describe or express my gratitude for the work that you all do, but thank you, that isn’t enough, but it is all that I have. Thank you, so very, very much.

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