Training continued this week for Rookie Dispatcher as he was forced to conquer the first of two vital tests. Failure would have meant ignominy and termination of employment, not to mention eternal self-loathing!
Fortunately, I scored a 98% and can breathe a little easier now, but that’s the end of police prep in my academy time. I’m already on to fire/EMS work, which is both simpler and more difficult.
Fire/EMS is much less complex than police calls. We need to know where and what and then we’re either on to CPR or we’re getting down a little more information and telling you to call back if anything changes.
Seriously. Fire/EMS calls are typically the shortest. Part of this is because we focus on getting aid on the way as quickly as possible. That’s why our county has the highest cardiac survival rate in the world. But it’s also because there are limits to what we can do on the phone. Unless we’re walking you through CPR or childbirth, basically we get the medics or aid car on the way and go over the pre-arrival instructions. Then, boom—they’re there.
Two to three minutes of that will involve me on the phone with you and then you’re with shiny, happy people with snappy uniforms and very red vehicles.
Actual fire calls are pretty rare. Mostly alarm company calls or a complaint from a neighbor about smoke. So far, I haven’t even seen a fire call in my nights at work. Not in our service area anyway.
I’m still learning a ton and can’t wait to move on from call receiving to actual dispatching. Mostly because I want to ride this all night long:
At our agency, you’re taking calls or you’re dispatching (or you’re backup, in which case you’ll do a bit of both). I think it’s good that you can focus on one set of tasks for the night. My trainer informs me that normally people trade positions every four or five hours, but COVID-19 has put an end to that.
Oh, and I learned about stork pins. They’re like the CPR save coins I talked about previously, only they’re handed out if you manage an over-the-phone birth. Doesn’t count if the baby drops before they call you or if the aid crew gets there first, so my trainer says they’re much rarer, but highly sought after.
Great. So now I want a save coin, a stork pin, and to ride the dispatcher’s desk.
But first I have to get through fire academy.