911 dispatchers stay calm in stressful job | News
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS)- 911 tapes are released from the found girls in Ohio.
Berry: OK, are they on their way right now?
Dispatcher: We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open.
Berry: No, I need them now before he gets back.
Dispatcher: All right. We're sending them, OK?
That's part of the script of the 911 call from Amanda Berry. The calls is receiving some criticism saying the emergency worker didn't understand the severity of the call.
Dispatchers are a critical life line for many people on a daily basis. For what they deal with and go through on a daily basis, Heartland News talked to two in Butler County.
Two veteran dispatchers said their job can be very stressful. They count on their training and experience to get through the day.
Kim Johnson is the Chief Communications Officer in Poplar Bluff, and Dave Williams is the Assistant Chief Communications Officer. They said they never know what to expect on the other end of the line when they pick up the phone.
They get calls about fires, break-ins, car wrecks, just to name a few.
They go through weeks of training, but still depend on experience both of them have gotten on the job over the years.
"That's a good basis, but it's just on the job, time and time again, make sure you re assure them that there is going to be help on the way," said Williams.
"Just try to reassure them that you're going to try to get help to them, but you have to get some information from them before you know I can get you help, so I have to find out where you are, get some stuff from you, some way to contact you back, a lot of times when you ask for their phone number they don't understand why you have to have all this stuff, but it does come in handy because if we can't find you or get a hold of you," said Johnson.
Sometimes dispatchers have the difficult job of prioritizing who gets help first.
"Sometimes it is because we'll have a lot more callers than we have officers on the road, you just have to go on past knowledge and what the person says to you when you're talking with them, and a lot of times you can hear in their voice how stressed they are, and tell just from that, this is a little more serious than it might sound," said Johnson.
"That's the challenge of the job, is when you answer that phone you do not know and you have to be prepared, for whatever is on the other end of that line, whether it be a hysterical patient, or someone calling for a barking dog," said Williams.
With such stressful jobs, they both said they have to leave the stress at work, and use outlets at home like their families and hobbies.
The Poplar Bluff dispatch gets more than 100,000 calls each year.
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