Hi all - Boy what an interesting, thought provoking, mind-opening, fascinating, jaw dropping three weeks it's been. I will start out by saying this much - The level of learning that goes behind BECOMING a call taker/police dispatcher ie: city or county/ems dispatcher/fire and rescue dispatcher/hazmat dispatcher/ is staggering. My perception of what my responsibility would be? Sit down, plug in, wear head set and listen to people, type fast what they were saying and let everyone else pick from the information what they needed to be doing, keep them on the phone until help arrived. Talk them out of a dangerous situation. NOT ANY OF THE ABOVE. First thing I had to learn was indepth geography, there are 12 districts here and each has it's own boundaries. One region won't even cross the street if the call is anothers - so I have to know where each begins and ends. I have to know all five major highways and their on and off ramps, mile markers - exits in depth -by name and landmarks. We were taught about sattelites, wireless phones, longitude and lattitude - how they all work. Fact - IF you do not have a cell phone that is WHP2 or wireless phase 2 - 911 can not call you back if you have an emergency or find your location. People think that all phones will give out a signal by gps or long./lat. Not true. Only WHP2 phones. If you or someone you know have those older cells you may want to consider updating it because if you fall, and call, and we get disconnected? I have no way of finding you. If you call from a landline? Yes - it logs, other than that and the WHP2's? No. Most phones can give a general area, but most officers will not go on a call for a general area on a hang up. (depends on the call nature) and if we can make contact on call back. Why? A lot of people have bootie calls - phone in pocket, some are on speed dial and get dialed a lot, others are OLDER cell phones that are not in use and have NO SERVICE - but ALL cell phone REGARDLESS of service still have 911 capability - so if you think about giving that old phone to a child to play with, and they dial 911? You may get an emergency call from police. (not so friendly I may add) or see police in your neigborhood going door to door asking if everyone is alright because 911 got a distress call from a child from an unknown origin. (older phone) ---I had no idea about that one. and what kid wouldn't know 911 -? I have to know about anatomy, physiology, psychology. There are ongoing classes CONSTANTLY about learning the body, it's functions, advanced medical care. EMT's come in, Paramedics come in and teach, we have to be accredited, certified - I'll have so many certificates when I'm done I'll need an album not a wall. It's the equivallent to being a paramedic. I have to be CPR and CPR (something) certified. I have to know triage and I have to know about snakes and spiders (see Told you that would come in handy) I have to know about cuts, tears, abrasions, avulsions, contusions, stabs, gunshots, sprains, strains, strokes , cardiac arrest, seizures, respitory distress, failure, edema, the seven systems of the body and how EACH of them work - and what they do, and why..... I have to take a course on suicide prevention...I have to take classes on listening, active listening, getting a radio ear (I'm kinda glad about that one - I was going to go in and tell them I thought I needed a hearing test) The first day I listened? It sounded Like CENTRAL I have a Hmaikedfo9uie34509dfjal;kjdf;klmmmmmahbnbbbbba er.......In abdliejfkmmmmmabbba,er stand by to 10-99......and I was like - ??????????????????? WTH???? And the woman next to me was like - 10-4 Richland 215 I have your blah blah be 1012 for 10-14.....and I'm thining - ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Then she turns around and types in license plates and birth dates, names and comes back over the radio with more jarjon and says to the police in MORE radio lingo - that the guys license is clear...and it all happened in a matter of THIRTY SECONDS... SO FAST FAST FAST ------each operator and dispatcher in there total handles about 3,900 calls an HOUR. IT"S MIND STAGGERING - AND They do it while monitoring six computer screens, two-three keyboards, two - three mouse controllers, a foot pedal, a head set, talking to the person on the phone or the dispatched units.....watching to see where the closest available units are to send - what calls they are currently on - where they are going - what's a prioroity call - vs - someone needs to make a report - if something is MAJOR - and they need to ALL GO ----it's incredible. And I'll tell you something else I've learned. People on the whole do NOT treat each other nicely. When they told me that the calls almost sounded the same all the time, all the time.....domestics, and civil disputes, I thought - but NO each one is different - and it's not. Largely? difficult child adults ALL have the same ideas about how to get one over on the world. So it IS repetitive and it's the same stuff - over and over and over and if I were a police officer I think I'd be bored out of my mind with the same excuses day after day. The same "Well you don't understand I...." Even yesterday - funniest story for me to date......Officer pulls over a vehicle. Okay the guy pulls to the curb. Officer calls in and asks to run the tag. We do. Tag comes back to a stolen vehicle. ????? What does the vehicle look like? Officer describes vehicle.....NOT the description of stolen vehicle. Officer chuckles. - WHAT a difficult child dimwhit. And talk about from bad to worse.....This man stole a plate - --------off a stolen car. Karma was out to get this kid big time. I'm also having to learn how to talk to people. People that are screaming at me. And while they're screaming at me - I'm having to get Who what where when Why - and WEAPON? Before they cuss me out, hang up on me and NOT raise my voice - but remain CALM and do it FASTER than lighting. It's ridiculously exciting, but stressful if you let it be......So far for me? The stressful part has been that I cant seem to get things to STICK...... I have over 200 codes for police to learn....and around 150 for EMS. THEN there are fire codes and SUB codes to each of those codes - like - is it a report? How long ago did it occur? Just, In progress....Or over 30 mins - REPORT. then for accidents? WOW - there's a whole NEw set of sub codes...and you'd better get them right because thats' police, FIRE and EMS - so you've got 20 people calling in about the same accident and you're trying to pull all those calls into YOUR call and condense the information - so you'd better be a speed reader and accurate. Plus a manual that is about 500 pages long and a test at the end JUST to be a call taker for non - emergency calls. Then a test for emergency calls. We are tested on stuff twice a day. Speed tests for knowledge and General knowledge tests and I swear I sit there and I'm focused - but ten minutes later it's RIGHT OUT OF MY HEAD. I have no idea how to make this stuff stick. I told the instructor - and he said - find a way. But he also said - If you have any problems - come to me - So I did . ROFL. Oh great. I study all the time - during lunch......during....the ride in - after work - and then I thought STUDYING too much? UGH. I don't know - tried recording it. Nope....reading a little - reading a lot. I'm really at a loss. Really want to be very good at this job - you have police, Fireman and EMS people that will come right to the center and tell you to your face in no uncertain terms - GET IT RIGHT - plus citizens will call and tell your boss they are mad at you, city council, mayor.....and you're being recorded and listened to by QC - 24/7 365. Are you pleasant? Helpful, Fast, Courteous, NOT exhaling, raising your voice, professional, and not robotic... LORD.....I think you have to be of an IQ that may be out of reach for me here. If I make it I'm going to give myself something for a treat other than a paycheck - because if you had ANY idea how smart intuitive, fast on their feet....these people are? HOLY moses - it's staggering. Fingers crossed. I'm in week three. I'm just snorting that they thought I was even in the realm here to get hired. Trying not to disappoint. So far my test scores have not been impressive - I KNOW this stuff - but when it's thrown at me on a test or FAST test? I blank out - and tha'Tourette's Syndrome probably part of the test. UGH.