What I'm learning in class.....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    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.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow- just WOW! Who'd a thunk?? That's pretty good info to know but I thought just like you- put head-set on, talk and type. Uhmm.....
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Just a note - PLEASE if you didn't read all of the junk above------

    MAKE SURE THAT YOUR KIDS', and ELDERLY parents phones are WHP2 phones - or wireless phase 2 - and that you do NOT give old cell phones without service to children to play with. I had NO idea. Would have thought it was harmless.

    OH also - You can tell ANY of your difficult child kids - that even if can't afford phone service or have NO phone in their home, apartment or mobile home??? GET A PHONE - and plug it in......In the event of a fire, or emergency - IF they dial 911???? They will be connected to an OPERATOR!!! They will not have service to anything else - BUT if they were in a domestic situation or had a fire - THEY WOULD GET HELP! I think it's a good idea to ALWAYS have a rotary (old fashioned phone) plugged in somehwere in case the electric goes out during a storm or in the event someone doesn't pay the electric bill -
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star, you just described nursing school. :rofl:

    Ok, so the speed isn't there at first.............but yeah, it's very similar. by the way docs can be major A holes, and seem to enjoy being that way to nurses, especially difficult child docs who aren't very bright.

    I was wondering perhaps if I could try to do it if an ad came up in our paper. Then you mentioned all those codes......... But if I spot an ad I might just give it a try. I mean, all they could do is say I don't make the cut.

    Friends of mine used to record things they had to memorize (like those codes) and play them to and from school, play them when they went shopping, play them when they were cleaning the house.......Play them anytime they couldn't sit with their nose in a book. If I'd had a recorder and a way to play it in the car, I might have too. Because hearing it over and over again tends to make it stick.

    As for the radio, it comes by itself. I'm sure it's waaaaay busier than a HAM radio frequency, but when I first started that hobby at about 10 all I heard was static for the first week. Then I could make out a few words. (they have their own jargon too) By about the 3rd /4th week I was yakking to folks all over the country like talking on the telephone. But I know what you mean.........I listen to police scanners and it sounds sort of like a Charlie Brown cartoon with the adults talking. LOL

    How long is your training? by the way, sounds like you're doing ok. You never really feel like you know this stuff until you get used to having to pull it out of your brain when you need it.

    Proud of you Starbie. :)

  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    OMG! I had no idea there was that much that goes in to that! What a compliment just to be hired in to a job like that! If anyone can handle all that, it's you! But I have a feeling that an air traffic controller's job at the airport might be a little less stressful!
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hound -

    They never advertise for jobs like this - EVER - because.....they do not have the time to sort through the flood of people they would get. I work for the city - and that's all I'll say - Wink.

    Yes - I swear if I could get set up in HAM radio? I would love that. One of the guys there was in Nam, is a Ham operator and was a Paramedic in NY city -for ten years. He's awesome. I like my ridealongs with him - he's so knowledgeable - and does Air math - "whats 2/3 of 3094809258 and he's like - BING.....got the answer - it's incredible..." so when I tell you these people are flipping smart? I keep sitting there thinking - Okay Star - what did they see in me? And I sigh....really. I'm intelligent and funny - but I can't do air math....and I didn't look at the code sheet and come back and KNOW it in two days like one of the younger dispatchers. The superstar. - That's amazing. (not putting myself down) but If I were on the team of Avengers? I'd still be sitting in headquarters looking at the spoon on the table going - MOVE.........MOVE......MOVE.....MOVE!!! and what's YOUR superpower...? Sigh - I have no idea. Can't even move a spoon with my mind. Sigh again....But This dog limped into a bar and said Okay Who shot my paw? yuk yuk yuk.......lol.

    And as far as NURSING school and EMT goes? Okay Here's the rub- WHen I went into TRUCKING? WHICH I LOVE - they flat out asked me - Do you want to be a nurse (I got pale) NOooooo I don't want to take care of people. YUK.....Needles make me pass out....NO way. I'd like to drive. "OH How about EMT?" Um......what part of I don't like taking care of people...don't you get? Hey wait could I just drive the ambulance?" No you'd have to help people. "OH like stick them with needles and junk?" Yes......NEXT???? and so that's when I suggested TRUCKING.........and DF gets his knee redone june 12....and his eyes sometime after that ...he's really going blind fast.

    Donna - they have counseling avaliable to us - 24/7 - and therapy. (I said - LIKE MASSAGE? _ crickets chirped) exhale....chuckle. And we were told that our job is right up under air traffic controller as far as stress. I just sat there - (crickets chirped) then they exhaled and chuckled. - I failed to find the humor in THAT. Followed by OKAY - anyone want out - now's your chance.......then two arrows with fingers to the door like a stewardess. That did make me laugh - (the rug is worn there)
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    You may not think it's sticking, but I can tell you, just from what you described, it IS!

    I know what they saw in you. You've talked me down, before, honey, from hundreds of miles away, via time-delay message board and cell phone texts. You, my dear, ROCK. Whether you believe it or not.

    And you know, I never realized what all goes into that... But it makes sense. And you are still perfect for the job!!!
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm with Step.

    I know you've talked so many people down into calm during a crisis there would be no way to count. You think on your feet. You are creative. And you think outside the box. AND you have oodles of experience, maybe not in this particular job, but a lifetime of dealing with people.

    Math whiz? He's got a gift for math. I do too when it comes to money & shopping. Doesn't really make me a genius.

    The kid who did all that memorizing in 2 days? Back when I still had my photographic memory, I could've done it in ONE. It's not intelligence, it's not genius. I simply would recall up the page in my head and "read" it in my mind. (but it did come in awful handy and I miss it terribly) easy child and Aubrey have the same gift. And I'm seeing it with Darrin now too. But recall and understanding is NOT the same thing. Intelligence doesn't play a part unless you can recall it and understand it as well. Know what I mean?? Thankfully easy child, Darrin, and Aubrey all have the understanding part too.

    Don't let such things blow your confidence in yourself or intimidate you.

    I never realized so very much went into taking 911 calls. But it does make sense as you've no clue what call is going to come in at any time and you've got to be able to stay calm and assess and know what to do. YOU can do that. I know you can.

    I still think you're perfect for the job too! :)

    And around here, they put it in the paper when they need someone. They seem to go through them fast. I'm guessing because the intelligence pool around here doesn't seem to be very high. (I"m not being mean or stereotypical, it's just something I've observed the years I've been here) If they didn't put it in the paper, they'd never find anyone. But they put it as "police dispatcher" instead of 911 operator.
  9. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Hey Star,

    I was thinking about you yesterday and how the job training was going. WOW!! I had no clue what went into that job. And thanks for the information about old phones.

    As far as being able to remember all of the codes.....you need to know what kind of learner you are. I read the book The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias to see if I could help Ant. What I learned is that there are three ways people remember things - Audio, visual, physical. And that you need to know what kind you are and use it. So if you are visual - flash cards work because you SEE if over and over. If you are audio - having it on a tape and listening to it over and over will work or saying them out loud works. If you are physical - writing it down over and over - or having a physical movement with each group might help.

    If you are someone who can just read a book and know how to do something - you are visual.
    If you can listen to someone tell you how to do something and have it - you are audio.
    If you are the person that has to DO it while someone tells you what to do - you are physical.

    Hope that helps!
  10. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    Wow-- that's a lot of stuff to know and memorize. I know testing is hard but you'll get the hang of it. Of course you have the intelligence to do it - just based upon your postings I know you are super smart and empathetic and knowledgeable and will make a GREAT 911 operator!
  11. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Star you are getting it by the way you described everything to us on the board. Hang in there girl this is your calling.

    Also not sure what the pay is like BUT it should be great based on what you have to know and all you are dealing with. Of course I am sure the pay is like most normal jobs never enough for what we do LOL
  12. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    What is a WHP2 or wireless phase 2 phone. Sorry I'm not very good with technology. Would any phone bought in the last year be o.k.? How about calling 911 in areas with little to no cell phone coverage? They still have to have the coverage to get to the tower to the operator right?
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In say 6 months, newbies will be in awe of you, too. Just you wait and see!
  14. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Starbie dear........

    I don't know exactly what you are going through with the codes but I DO sort of. When I was studying for travel agent we had to learn codes like that Airports of domestic, international, airlines, airplanes, hotels, etc..you get the idea. Thousands of codes. I didn't think I could do it but I did. Then the computer system and omg, when you are put on a live computer! wow, freak out!

    Stress, yes it's stressful for you and the job will be but I got a feeling that this kind of stress is going to be different, a lot different then any kind of stress you've ever experienced in your life. At times it might be a monotonous type but others it's going to be exhilarating and you will go home with great feelings (and yes some days you may go home feeling a bit sad) but it's the type job that I think you will love and come to look forward to doing. It's interesting and brings life into perspective very differently then the way you've seen it before. You may even find your "purpose" in life through it I would like to say, I just have this feeling.

    As for the phones, I did know about the fact about 911 being available to phones, also about lack of GPS and none GPS. I also knew about kids and not playing with phones. My sister's step kids used to play with the phones when they were little (they are now fully grown). Except they accidently (or on purpose!?) called 911 several times back then. OMG! That was not a good scene at all. She had a really big problem because they would do that. The local news back then did a PSA about it. I have not seen it done since but I really think they need to do PSA's on it again so parents know about the dangers of playing with phones and 911 as well as crank calls to 911, also about being able to use 911 on phones.

    I know that's why they do donations of old cell phones to domestic abuse centers to assist victims in being able to reach 911 (so if anyone has any or ever considered donating, this is what it's for!). Also, the old land line phones, there was once a show done, I think perhaps a talk show did it, about if you were ever abducted (kids) how even if a phone didn't have the ability to dial you could get 911 help. For some reason I recall seeing something about someone tapping it out on the hook part (you know the button that goes down when you hang up) like morse code that reached help. I could be wrong on that but it sticks out in my mind.

    I listen to scanners and it is interesting and yes, the codes are very different. I still haven't figured them out and I've even looked them up for our local area (anyone interested you can listen to scanners on your easy child online free!). There are codes that they don't give out I think purposely as well (I'm sure you now know this Star and know why). I find it interesting in knowing what's going on in my area mostly because when oldest difficult child is now out and exploring in her 20 yo age, I know where I DON'T want her going around for sure as there is a lot of trouble. Other then that, it also has helped at times for other reasons. One good thing I can say is I have learned just how fast or slow they respond and to what (like Star said about prioritizing calls) as what I listen to is a dispatcher for ALL (fire, police and ambulance).

    Star, we're all behind you and I really do think you will be ok. IF, however, for some reason you don't succeed.......you did not fail...and there is no shame. We love you just as much! BUT YOU WILL BE FINE!!!

    :) :) :) :)
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of recording and listening to it on the way to and from work. You could record the classes, or you could read it out and record it yourself. It's learning a sound and what to associate with that sound. And, of course, flash cards. Maybe record yourself reading out the flash cards?

    I have to tell you, there's always a big hub-bub about 911 operator's salaries. Inevitably when they figure out who took home the most money in the state, it's a 911 operator pulling extra shifts. We had a guy in Oregon back in the early 1990's taking home over $190,000 a year. There was a great brew-ha-ha until they figured out that they couldn't hire and train enough people to take all of the shifts, and it was just cheaper to let the guy work rather than do all of the training and pay the extra benefits to someone else. Remember that - you could be earning more than your blankety-blank Governor...
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star, I was going to tell you about the app that is the police scanner so you can listen to the dispatch from home but tia beat me to it. I do that all the time and now I will switch mine to your area and listen for you...lol. My app lets me switch to any place in the country..heck the world I think.

    Now about the codes and such and learning to understand how to the radios and all that...remember if Jamie could do it, you can do it. You my dear are smarter than him! He knows all that stuff and so will you. Surprised the heck out of me too.

    You are obviously getting more training than some 911 operator's get. There are some places that just hand them a handbook and set them loose. Im not but so sure that my county isnt one of those.
  17. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hey Star, You are quite the woman!
    I'm very impressed with all you're learning and the noble work you will be inolved in.

    I once was a Communications Assistant for the deaf working in a Relay Center in Pa. LOVED the work. It was very gratifying to help others and the work...well, it didn't really seem like "work" it was just so rewarding.

    Way to go,
  18. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    OMG! If anyone can do this, it's certainly you!
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    The salary for call taker is under $25k a year......no while it's not great or impressive - I think (like I've always said Witz - at 190k a year I'm moving to the NE) - and rain omg I love the rain! 190K?????? 190K?

    I had no idea about the scanner channel - that would be neat to have if they use the same codes - going to check today to see if I can find it. I'm still working on - HE goes - from here -------to here and but nor not over here - and will NOT cross the street period. lol - OMG I can see that being MY luck - "Help HELP I've been hit with a bullet------and I got a new 911 operator that sent city and not county - and city stands across the street going -" (tch) well kid - we're sorry but you'll have to wait for COUNTY - sorry youhad a rotten call taker." Have not had those nightmares yet - but their a-coming. lol.

    The shifts are (i'm told) brutal - but a few observations - You have 3 =12 hour shifts, then youre off 3 days and then you work 1 eight hour shift. Either 7 am -7 pm or visa versa. STAR is not a night owl and will not adapt. I've tried. I can't make the cut there. In my twenties? Yup. Now in my (near somethings rhyming with nifty) notsomuch. So I'm praying for days. 7a - 7p. I fear you must be the best of the best as it's busier. So fingers crossed.

    I am a kinestetic learner. I need to do it, see it, feel it, hands on it - even when I was in trucking school - I had this same feeling in the class room - OMG, I'll fail, I can't get this - I don't retain anything I read. Then? They cut us loose in the field with the lists, and the trucks and Voila - I got to climb all over the truck....know it, be in it....work on it....and now I teach it. (that tells me what I told my instructor) I DO NOT learn by listening. lalalalalala I am not listening.....(Lord I said I was HOW old) ugh. ? Really it's like I focus, I hear him,,,,,and ten minutes later if I had to list five things? I could not - three hours later? I may be able to tell you after a review -with a small reminder....so I KNOW it's in there.....it's just hiding. (Thanks Fritz - finally gets a play mate and he wants to play hide and go seek - not Life)

    I certainly appreciate the compliments - and I'm very pleased to know that I've every helped any of you. I love you all very much. So if I never do anything else? That will always be a gem for me that sparkles.

    You all are certainly ladies of intrigue - you know that? Everytime we talk about something odd like this - you all come forward and pop up with stories about yourself that are SO interesting to me - and I learn something new all the time about each of you. Ham radio operator, Travel agents have codes.....Communications assistant for the deaf - which by the way - I actually have seen - we use Sorensen. (makes sign for Thank you) I speak limited hand - try to learn a little of every kind of language. Blew two guys socks off the other day when I said Have a Lovely day in Swahili.....mostly? It just makes people smile. (Seriously? Thank you Lion King - Asanti San) without the squash banan. So I do learn some things by hearing - but why does it have to be the words to the Lion King? (Fritz was not serious when young)

    Well I have my flash cards, and I'm going to get busy on my home work....I do mad reports......I'm creative. I hope he likes it anyway - we suspect he hasn't read our reports. We put them in X spot and they never moved. (twists lips) hmmmm. Said he did - No reason to doubt but other classmate said - THEY never moved. So now it's on. bwhahahaha.

    Anyway - thanks girls......for everything. (hi bean - auntie star wubs you)

    Hugs &Love
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Lihona -

    Wireless Phase 2 - or WHP2 is the technology that allows the sattelites to project your latitude and longitude TO a 911 center via your telephone /gps. If you have a telephone that is less than 2 years old more than likely you have it. If you are not sure? Call your carrier and ask them if their service provides wireless phase 2. It's a yes or no question I went and found the list of carriers for you here they are: .http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/911-services/enhanced911/phase2-ali.html

    Technically speaking? More than that and you'll have to come and take the class.....lol. But the 911 operators guild spoke to carriers and said - LOOK - we need you to link up with the six sattelites that are out in space spinning 90k miles an hour whie the earth is spinning - and not just bounce your signal off a local tower ONLY......so that we can get a geo-fix on where this call is coming from (long/lat) - to find people in distress. Its really interesting and kind of complicated. But just know - when I told you all I was a consipiracy theorist and that we're all being watched all the time? I wasn't wrong.

    Oh and by the way - If you drive down ANY of our major highways - at ANY time - and you call and tell me? (this is so cool) I can see your vehicle on a gigantic screen. I saw my old truck and driver twice now and told him - he kinda freaked out - but then thought it was cool I was keeping an eye on him.