Sunday, April 12, 2009

National Telecommunicators Week

This week (starting today...Easter) is National Telecommunicators week. I feel like sometimes we are way under appreciated, so it's nice to have a week to celebrate and appreciate what we do. The Administration at our department is always appreciative of what we do. They recognize the job we do is difficult and they let us know how grateful they are that we do it.

We also got a "thank you" from Lindon (who we also dispatch for) in the way of a gift. They gave us each a cool water bottle and a bag of treats. It was so thoughtful. I appreciate the small gestures that says people care and recognize what we're doing. That's how I felt when I got that give.

The two post below were sent out by a coworker of mine in honor of National Telecommunicators week. I thought they were pretty funny (and so true) so I decided to share them. I hope you enjoy. I also hope that if you know a 911 dispatcher that you will thank them this week for the job they do. We often go unrecognized and underappreciated. We do all the work with none of the glory, and we're happy to do it. But thank a dispatcher if you know one. I know it would make them feel good!

Things you'd love to say to the public but can't...


**And your crybaby, whiny opinion would be...?

**Do I sound like a people person?

**This isn't a Comm Center... it's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

**I pretend to work, they pretend to pay me.

**Sarcasm is just one more customer service benefit we offer.

**You.. off my planet!

**Does your train of thought have a caboose?

**Did the aliens forget to remove your anal probe?

**And what law school did you graduate from, Matlock?

**I'm okay because the voices tell me so.

**Am I getting smart with you? No, I'll keep it on your level.

**And which one of the Seven Dwarfs are you?

**I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.

**I'd explain it to you, but I'm afraid your brain would explode.

**I'm sorry you got a speeding ticket. You feel you don't deserve it? What, did the officer interrupt your qualifying lap?

**There are two things on Earth that are universal: hydrogen and stupidity. You don't look like an atomic weapon, so that leaves us with one alternative...

**Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

**Do they ever shut up on your planet?

**I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

**How many times do I have to flush before you go away?

**Earth is full. Go home.

**Is it time for your medication or mine?

**Aw, did I step on your poor little bitty ego?

**Don't start with me!

**You won't win.

**WARNING: I have an attitude and I know how to use it.

**When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

**Sorry if I sounded interested... I'm not!

**And your point is?

**You have the right to remain silent, so please shut up.

**Don't upset me! I'm running out of places to hide the bodies.

You might be a dispatcher if...

You Might Be a Dispatcher If...

**You can carry on more than 4 conversations simultaneously!

**You have a bladder capacity of a tanker!

**You can resume a conversation with co-workers 4 hours later, in mid-sentence and everyone knows that you are talking about!

**You have a long term telephonic relationship with one or more paranoid schizophrenic PTSD
suffering relatives of a public official.

**You have ever had to explain to a college educated, gainfully employed, tax paying property owner that: His/her child's lack of interest in vegetables was not a police matter!

**You have ever muttered the phrase: "They let him carry a GUN?"

**You find yourself typing "height" and "weight" instead of "width" and "height" when adding dimensions to the HTML "IMG SRC" tags on your web-site.

**You answer your home phone "9-1-1, what is your emergency?"

**You spend more on fast food than utilities.

**You see nothing wrong with eating a Taco Bell Grande Meal or pizza at 3 a.m

**You consider coffee an indispensable work tool (especially on graveyards).

**You answer your home phone "dispatch".

**You answer dispatch phone "hell" instead of "hello".

**The only thing that gets your adrenaline going is the walk to and from your car.

**You find humor in other people's misery.

**You're only happy if you have something to complain about.

**You consider patience a weakness, not a virtue.

**Your idea of a good night involves someone burning a house down, getting shot, chased or dismembered.

**You have forgotten what it is like to actually eat a warm meal.

**Your dog doesn't recognize you and the kids think you're just the person who drops by every now and then to bring groceries and do the laundry.

**You think it's funny when a would-be suicide gets bored waiting for the gas from the stove to do it's thing and lights a cigarette to pass the time resulting in an explosion that leaves her neighbors homeless but she still survives.

**You truly believe stupidity should be painful.

**Dinner consist of a 2 liter bottle of soda and whatever you can scrounge out of the vending machine.

**Antacid tablets, or better known as dispatcher candy, become your regular desert.

**You read newspaper accounts of a major incident that occurred during your shift and can point
out all the incorrect information...and then laugh about it.

**Family members comment about how nice you "used" to be before you started this job.

**You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac and/or birth control over certain parts of your city.

**You have no idea what a holiday is, other than it's the day when everyone gets drunk and beats up their family members.

**You get impatient listening to people relate a story - You want "just the facts".

**You believe 90% of people can't look up a telephone number.

**You get easily bored with happy content people.

**You can talk on the phone, listen to the radio and type request into the computer at the same time without missing anything.

**You think it is funny when a "regular client" kills himself while breaking into a business.

**You can give directions to any location in your city off the top of your head.

**You can relate a 10 minute story over a 2 hour time period, after many interruptions, without losing your place.

**You refuse to allow anyone to say "have a quiet shift".

**You believe that the statement, "It sure is quiet!" will bring down the wrath of god upon you.

**You can give anyone the exact address of Parkway Crossing in your jurisdiction.

**You question the motives of anyone who makes an effort to get to know you after they learn your profession.

**You know the phone number of every restaurant or business that delivers food.

**You spell everything phonetically.

**You can only tell time on a 24 hour clock.

**You acknowledge your friends and families remarks with the time.

**You have spent time explaining to officers, firefighters or EMTs the difference between a dispatcher and a personal assistant.

**You live in fear of a full moon.

**You are on a first name basis with every crazy lunatic in your jurisdiction.

**You find no comfort in knowing that the equipment that you depend on to do your job and protect others was purchased at the lowest bid possible.

**You find yourself talking to family and friends in codes.

**You have a tendency to giggle at your friends "big" problems.

**You respond 10-4 when told to please pull around to the first window at a fast food restaurant.

**You tell cops and firefighters where to go without fear.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Do you know the dog?!?

And one last call from last night that I thought was funny. Sadly, I was the one who was a little funny on this call. A lady called the police to complain about her neighbors dog barking. I tried to ask her if she knew the address where the dog lives, but instead I asked her "Do you know the dog?" I then had to proceed to tell her that infact it doesn't matter if she knows the dog or has a personal relationship with it. I just needed to know where it lived. I couldn't help but laugh. Imagine calling the police about a dog complaint and hearing from the 911 operator "Do you know the dog??" haha! That was when I decided it was time for me to go home! :P

Do YOU know where you live?

I got a call from a girl (probably in her 20's) and I asked her where she was. She told me at the corner of 700 W 5300 N. (I can't remember the first part of the address but the second part I know she said.) I asked her what city she was in and she said Orem. I again confirmed the address and got 700 W 5300 N. I told her she couldn't be in Orem and asked if she could be in Provo. She told me NO and she was sure she was in Orem at 700 W 5300 N, she said she had lived there here whole life and it had always been 5300 N. I told her there is no 5300 N in Orem and she told me she didn't know what to say because that is where they are at. Well I told her (in so many words) that there is no 5300 N in Orem so she was going to figure out the right address or the right city. I then hear whispering in the background followed by this:

Caller: Um...whisper, whisper...
Me: Do you know what address you're at?
Caller: Ya, it's going to be 700 W 530 bad!

GRR! I hate when people think non-funny things are funny. It shouldn't be funny to you that you are 20 and don't know your address where you've lived for ALL those 20 years. It is funny to me though!

I promise, directions aren't hard!

I took another funny call last night at work. A lady was calling to report that her vehicle had just been hit and the person who hit her drove away. My caller was following the suspect. She gave me the address of where she was and said she was still following. I asked her if they were going North, South, East or West and there was silence on the other end of the phone. I think it was the first time she had ever heard those directions. She had NO idea where she was. I've had people like that before so I told her to just keep giving me addresses as she saw them so I could tell the officer. She told me they started at 1600 N State. This is how it went:

1600 N State
1140 N 980 W
1100 N 800 W
1040 N 600 W
1200 N State

...wait, 1200 N State? How did you get from 600 W to State? (For those of you who know Orem, it's not easy.) She then started giving me businesses on State street as she followed the suspect past them. We got Wendys, Maceys, a carpet business, etc. She told me she was right behind the person.

After sending our officers on a small goose chase around the North end of town (thanks to my callers directions) we finally got an officer to catch up to them. My caller said she saw the officer. I told her (as is routine) that "The officer is going to make a traffic stop on that vehicle. After he pulls it over I need you to pull over and park your car behind the officers. Do not get out of your vehicle. The officer is going to make contact first at the car he has stopped and then he will come talk to you. Do you understand?" She told me she understood, but she still seemed a little confused so I didn't hang up. Turned out to be a good thing that I didn't.

I was just about to ask her if she was out with the officer when she told me he had the wrong car pulled over. She again gave me the vehicle description and license plate. I assured her we had that very car pulled over. I asked her if she was pulled up behind the officer and she told me she couldn't see the officer. How did she know he had pulled over the "wrong car" if she couldn't even see what car he had? (I had the same question) I asked her where she was and she said 400 N State. Well the officer was at 200 N State (I don't know how she got so far behind.) I told her I was staying on the phone with her and told her to pull over behind the officer as soon as she saw him. She finally told me that she saw him and asked if she should pull over left... I told her "No, the officer is pulled over to the right and I need you to pull over and park your car RIGHT BEHIND HIM and stay in your car." (I was starting to get a little frustrated by this point. I asked her a few seconds later if she were parked behind the officer so I could hang up with her. She told me to hang on. And then I hear this:

Caller: Hi!
Male: Are you so-and-so?
Caller: Yes, who are you?
Male: I'm Officer so-and-so.
Caller: Hi!
Officer: Who are you on the phone with?
Caller: 911. Officer: Um, you can hang up now...
Caller: (to me) Ok, I think I can hang up now!

Ya, I felt like that call was never going to end. Bless her heart for trying so hard to be a good caller. She just fell through in so many ways. I couldn't help but laugh. At least she had a good attitude about the whole thing, right?

So funny!

I know things always seem funnier at night or when you haven't slept for awhile, but I think at times my job really is funny regardless of how much sleep a person has had. Tonight was one of those funny nights! I think it's good that we can find some funny things in some not-so-funny situations.

We had a serious traffic accident tonight that our medical units responded to on the highway. We had SEVERAL reports of the accident come in on 911 lines and we finally got medical units out with Highway Patrol units. It was obvious that the accident was quite serious so we quickly called an air ambulance (Life Flight) to respond to the scene. When we call Life Flight they always make contact with an officer on scene for scene and landing information. Since the accident was on the highway, UHP took the landing zone. We had advised (we thought) everyone on the scene that Life Flight was enroute and their ETA (estimated time of arrival) was less than 5 minutes. A few minutes after that we heard the chopper check on the radio with UHP and advise them that they were less than a minute out. This is what we heard:

Chopper: Who is our contact on scene?
UHP: It will be UHP unit #...
Chopper: UHP unit #..., we are less than 1 minute out
(Amidst ALOT of wind-type noise on the radio)
UHP: Life Flight confirming you are 15 minutes out?
Chopper: Um, negative. We have the scene in sight and are coming in straight at you.

It was one of those times when you can just picture the helicopter pilot wanting to say "LOOK UP! What do you mean 15 minutes? Can't you see a HUGE red helicopter coming in? And if you don't see the helicopter, can't you hear it? "

It was so funny. And the best part was that the whole time they are having their converstation I could HEAR the helicopter in the background. It's not like they sneak up on a person.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I will never understand

I will never understand the way people think. Why is it that we will recieve 10 calls about a dog running in traffic but only 1 about a guy standing on the side of the road bleeding? We will recieve 15 calls about a couch laying on the side of the road but only 2 about a kid walking down the sidewalk holding a gun. We can get 20 calls about a cow loose in traffic but only 1 about a guy who is handcuffed and wearing a hospital gown running down the street. We will get 15 calls about traffic accident that is not even blocking traffic and only 1 about a person who is laying on the sidewalk not moving. We will recieve 10 about a house that looks like it's on fire but only 3 about a vehicle that is burning up in a parking lot.

I know people love their dogs and cats. I understand that people take pride in their cars and have spent alot of money on them. I even understand the concern about large animals such as cattle running on a busy street. BUT WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE?!?! Are you seriously not concerned about people who may be hurt or injured? What about people holding weapons? Aren't you the least bit worried about what they're going to do with the weapon?

I will just never understand people and the way they think. *Sigh*