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9-1-1 Communications Center teams work like well-oiled precision tools when a critical call comes in or the phones and radios are swamped on a full moon Friday night. But we often hear that teamwork comes to an abrupt halt when it comes to getting along or to be a team off the phones and radio. Here are 7 Deadly Habits and 7 Useful Tips for more teamwork off the phones and radios and 7+ recommended eBooks for your professional library, independent learning, or In Service Training.
...I moved on with my life, and took my children with me to safety. Became ferociously independent. Felt wonderful. New life, new home, new job. My new job was as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. I knew that the job would be stressful, but I was an old pro at stress. Or so I thought. I had no idea the extent of stress that was heading my way...
Public Perception and the 9-1-1 Dispatcher
In every class I teach, I drive home the point that the first person on the scene of every crime, fire and medical emergency is the initial call taker. It's no different when the call for help involves an active shooting incident. When a frightened voice on the other end of the phone is looking for help, you are right on the scene. When the phones start to light up, will you be prepared?
After twelve years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher in Arizona, Jean Kester retired, moved to Washington state, and eventually founded an organization called Layers of Hope - Quilting 911, a support organization for 9-1-1 agencies and their communities who have undergone disasters or stressful, traumatic incidents. "I got the idea in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast," Jean told 9-1-1 Magazine. "I wanted to go down and help but it just wasn't possible. My husband suggested I use my...
Available as a self survey FLIP eBook (flash-driven page flipping eBook) and bonus Powerpoint Trainer, Compassion Fatigue is a very real stress related issue for our Comm Centers. The results of CF can be job burn-out, apathy leading to poor work performance, shut down of feelings leading to illness and increase stress levels. What causes CF, how can you see it and what can you do about it.
Dispatcher Cherry Drake who has worked for Haywood County (TN) Emergency Dispatch for four years. While she is used to taking emergency calls from residents who are in desperate situations, it was a shock to get a call from her 17-year-old son reporting that their own house was on fire.
Negative events can significantly impact the mind, body, and soul of the ones whose responsibility it is to provided service and security in times of crisis. Negative coping mechanisms include denial, projection, cynicism, stoicism, and escape. Consequently, one might ask: Is Optimism Possible in the Public Safety Professions?
For those of us in the 9-1-1 business, professionals in the realm of public safety communications, September 11th has a very unique ring. It tolls with the low, baritone gong of the funeral procession, since so many of our brothers and sisters in the first responder community perished as a result of those heinous acts of warfare against our country and our way of life. We, who have dedicated ourselves or at least entered into a profession whereby our mission is to help people during...
When these statistics started coming in for PTSD and how many firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers are affected by that, even to the point of committing suicide, I thought about how I could express some of the stressful things that I see through my artwork. I recognized some of the signs of PTSD in myself, and I've found it useful for me to process what I‚Äôve seen by recreating the calls through artwork.
Stress and the Emergency Dispatcher was written by former dispatcher, and stress management educator and consultant, T.P. McAtamney, the founder of Headsets911 - The 911 Dispatcher Stress Experts. The book provides a philosophical perspective, developed from personal experience, to help understand the nature and causes of stress, and offers stress management and coping strategies.
July 1, 1993: A brief radio encounter - tragic events that unfolded in a matter of minutes - changed the lives of two individuals forever, leaving one dead and the other with haunting memories, and leaving many more with unanswered questions due to.
On Sunday, January 10th, 1999, tragedy struck the city of Oakland, California (population almost 400,000 and located across the Bay from San Francisco) when it lost two of its best emergency workers in one day... Dispatchers who handled the incidents both affirmed that there is nothing a dispatcher can do to prepare for the emotional impact of losing a field unit. The pattern I've observed from these experiences appears to be common to these types of critical incidents. These incidents...
February 28, 1997, was a day of mayhem and miracles in North Hollywood. A pair of gunmen, clad in ski masks and full body armor, swaggered into the Bank of America shortly after it opened for business, spray-painted the lobby with bullets from AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles, and launched what was to become one of the most prolonged and shocking gun battles in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. The 40-minute firefight, much of which aired live on television, gripped the nation...
When you think of hazardous jobs what comes to mind: firefighters, high-rise steel workers, bomb disposal technicians, 9-1-1 dispatchers? Dispatchers? What is the hazard of sitting in a secure room behind a cluster of computer monitors, answering phone calls, and talking on a radio? Plenty! In this edition of "From the Chair," Paul Bagley presents a real-life cautionary tale to remind us just how dangerous dispatching can be. The take-away lesson may just save your life.
Due to the success, as well as the widespread support and endorsement of the first film, the makers of the Heroes Behind The Badge documentary film have announced they have begun filming a follow up video, again in partnership with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The new movie will be released this fall.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Modern City Entertainment are teaming up to create Heroes Behind the Badge, a moving documentary about the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers serving across America. Set for release in fall 2012, Heroes Behind the Badge will feature stories about some of the brave men and women of law enforcement who have put their lives on the line and survived, as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In 1972, Comedian George Carlin had a popular routine based upon seven words that you can't say on television. Although cable TV has relaxed the former network rules, several of these words are still not politely uttered in the PSAP even 35 years after the fact. And when they are spoken nowadays, it may not be a laughing matter.
According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 53 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2012. This is a 44% decrease from the 94 fatalities that occurred in 2011 during the same time period.
Memoirs from Heaven was conceived to address the large and growing need for posthumous communication services, with a focus toward public safety and the US military. The Company's goal is to create the first and only web-based bereavement letter, pre-conceived and highly customized in the principalís first person words...
Motorola Solutions and the Motorola Solutions Foundation Contribute $15 Million to the National Law Enforcement Museum
The funding provided by Motorola Solutions will help support the museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, research and diverse educational programming. The contribution announced today brings the total to $18 million that Motorola Solutions and the Motorola Solutions Foundation have provided to support the museum's public education effort.
Now available in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats, Heroes Behind The Badge: Sacrifice & Survival is the new highly anticipated follow up documentary film to the original Heroes Behind The Badge, released in 2012. This new documentary film, produced in partnership with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund not only features the harrowing stories of the fallen, but also focuses on the incredibly inspiring stories of those who have been critically injured in the line of duty and have...
Police officer Jimmy Bremner, assisted by writer Connie Adair, has written a book about his personal struggle with post traumatic stress disorder. Crack in the Armor is an inspiring and information packed book that has been getting great reviews from police and other first responders, as well as soldiers.
After publishing the results of a landmark study of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among public safety dispatchers, a university professor is now looking for additional participants for health and wellness research. Dr. Michelle Lilly, Ph.D. is looking for both dispatcher trainees in their first four months of work, and dispatchers with at least one year of experience.
A new study by researchers at Northern Illinois University suggests that the on-the-job, indirect exposure to trauma puts dispatchers at risk for developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "We found that dispatchers report significant emotional distress related to handling duty-related calls, and this type of distress is associated with increased risk for developing PTSD or PTSD symptoms," said NIU Psychology Professor Michelle Lilly, one of the authors of the study...
"Why does the dispatcher need help getting through this officer down incident, he wasn't even on the scene?" These were the words a high ranking official asked me, the 9-1-1 Director in charge of a center where an officer was shot, when my dispatcher was having extreme anxiety over the incident. I wish I knew then what I know now...
Some dispatchers have the amazing ability to go through day after day of hearing the cries for help from their fellow citizens without becoming overwhelmed or completely stressed to their limits. These dispatchers are not superhuman nor are they devoid of feelings. What sets them apart from their more stressed counterparts is the fact that they have been able to establish a positive balance between their work and their lives.
What we once knew as a traumatic event seems to pale in comparison to what thousands learned that day on the streets of New York, on the steps of the Pentagon, in a field in Pennsylvania, and even on the screen of the TV we remained glued to for days, even weeks, after the terrible tragedy that we now refer to as "9/11." Those of us in the trenches, used to responding to critical incidents as part of our job, may feel at a loss for words at this point. All the training in the world could...
The Grapevine Police Department is like one big family. We have our good days and bad days. There are people we like and those we would prefer not to hang out with. There is sibling rivalry and an overwhelming ability to step up to the plate and help out in times of struggle and stress.
The follow up film to the acclaimed documentary HEROES BEHIND THE BADGE is HEROES BEHIND THE BADGE: SACRIFICE & SURVIVAL and will be released in the Fall of 2013. This second full-length documentary film will not only tell the stories of brave officers who have laid down their lives in the line of duty. But also the stories of the countless officers each year who are physically disabled, many of them permanently, in violent confrontations.
This 15 minute video contains considerable information regarding PTSD and Suicide in these professions. Serve & Protect is pleased to provide it free for use in your training sessions. Our goal is to help those who serve our communities. Share it with others in these professions too.
From Jul/Aug 1997 issue: All of us in dispatch are awed by the challenges that faced the Colorado telecommunicators... And as crime perpetuates crime and the darkness that exists in so many young souls prepared no doubt to writhe into another tragedy someday yet to come, we grieve for Jefferson County, we pray for our own children, and as we wonder just how recklessly this world is spinning out of control...
Even though my mind had adapted to the day-to-day adrenaline rush of vicariously encountering traumatic situations, I couldn't escape the physiological and emotional consequences. As a psychology major in the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College, I was learning concepts that described what I was experiencing, and conversations with my coworkers revealed that I wasn't the only 9-1-1 dispatcher suffering the effects of being in a continual state of crisis.
Within moments of the awful shooting spree in which 71 people were shot (12 fatally) as they watched the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado, news had taken wing and spread across the Internet. A rushing wave of incredulity and sorrow swept across social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as those of us still up after midnight read with heartache and horror what transpired in the flickering darkness of Aurora's Century 16 Theater.
This is by far the weirdest editorial I wrote for 9-1-1 magazine. A longtime aficionado of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft (and an occasional writer of that type of weird fantasy fiction), I borrowed some ideas from one of his stories to make an oblique comment on negativity and cynicism in the 9-1-1 Center... I thought it would be interesting to revisit it here, as its perspective is still relevant and its narrative style even more regarded in literary circles.
There will always be a select number of calls whose memory will follow each and every one of us throughout our careers and become indelibly imprinted as part of the holiday season... Despite the severity of these events and others like them, the names of those involved have dimmed over the years. While the streets and neighborhoods involved are often associated with these recollections, the most common denominator is the deep seated sorrow that "something like this could happen near the...
Beyond my grief for the children and families of Newtown is a deep concern for the public safety responders of Newtown and the police, fire, and EMS dispatchers who shared their response and its aftermath... dispatchers who may not have witnessed directly but felt the event just as keenly in the voices of 9-1-1 callers and response units from the scene.
Burn out and empathy fatigue happen in similar circumstances but have different symptoms. A burn out is a condition in which the person worked so hard at near-peak production or efficiency that they lose touch with themselves... Empathy fatigue occurs when a person consistently feels the pain and suffering of another. Boundaries between two or more individuals become blurred and the person has great trouble distinguishing between their emotions and that of another.
There are many habits and practices you can do on a regular basis to keep you very healthy and happy. Some of these tips are specific to the workplace, some are general lifestyle suggestions that I've found to be valuable in achieving an overall sense of stress-less well being.
Serve & Protect restores heroes and rescues families in criminal justice and emergency services, including those in Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue/EMT, Dispatch, and Corrections. We believe that both physical health and mental health are core elements to serving those who sacrifice for us daily.