Today I got an inbox message from a fan. The things she wrote about really hurt my heart for her. She works in a PSAP that has dispatchers separated from call takers. It got me thinking. The more I thought the more offended I was for her.
I work in a 911 center that requires all employees to do it all. We answer incoming emergency and non emergency phone lines while manning our dispatch consoles. There is a small exception to this rule, the busiest law consoles are not required to answer the phones. We are all cross trained for Law, Fire and EMS and take our turns rotating thru all of the consoles.
In her note to me she writes how she would like to be able to wear Mad Dispatcher Gear. She says that if she wore a shirt that had the word Dispatcher on it to work, the “real dispatchers” would make unfriendly comments about it. She tells me that she is proud of the job that she does but is reminded by the dispatchers that she “is just an operator”
WAIT JUST A COTTON PICKIN MINUTE!!!!!!!!!
JUST an Operator!!!!
I think my head might just Explode!
We are NEVER ever JUST an anything!
Every one of us provides a vital part of Emergency communications. The Call taker that gathers vital information for the dispatchers/responding units, provides calm and control to her callers on scene, pre arrival medical instructions & so much more. To the dispatcher that sends out the Officers, Medics and Firefighters keeping them informed, safe & so much more.
I know if any of the units I dispatch were to tell me I was “just a Dispatcher” my head would implode.
I am willing to bet these “real Dispatchers” would blow a frackin’ gasket if one of their units called them “just a dispatcher” , they should extend the same courtesy they expect to the people they work with as well. For shame on them!!
With this in mind, never fear call takers! There will be a shirt designed just for you. You are a vital link in communications and a lifeline. Never JUST an anything!!!