911 What is your emergency?
911 What is the address of your emergency?
The term varies from agency to agency, but the end result is all the same. Most of the time it's just the old lady down the road hearing a noise outside, sometimes it's the young punk in the subdivision egging houses... and then there's THAT call. The call that makes you wonder why you ever decided to become a stupid dispatcher in the first place. Why did I have to take that call, WHY did that have to happen on MY shift. We've all been there, we've all had that call.. A mother finding her child unresponsive, a shooting victim taking their last breath, a wife finding her husband of 60 years deceased on the couch they got for their 20th wedding anniversary.. some people can shrug it off and go home at the end of the day, and others who cannot.
Stress builds, it can be all at once, it can be over the course of weeks, months or years, but when is the stress too much? For those of you whom dispatching might just be a way to make money (funny joke, right?) when you start getting so stressed you don't want to come to work.. well, do just that.. find a different job. This job, as well as all other emergency services, is not something just ANYONE can do, if you heart isn't in the game, it is not and will not be worth the fatigue in the long run.. Now, those of you whom are lifers in the dispatch game, you already know what I'm talking about when I say stress. But when you get that one call, that makes you question everything you thought you knew, TALK to someone. Do not be afraid of asking your Director/Center Manager/Supervisor about counselling, *most* centers after a significant call will offer Critical Incident Debriefing, followed by counselling if needed, never be too ashamed to ask for help.
If you have stress, fatigue, or anything concerning that you need help with, there is a 911 Telecommunicator Caucus that hosts a service called " Dear Goldie" simply shoot them your question, and they will have a board of dispatchers from across the country help solve your issue!