I answered a 911 call from a frantic mother. She was screaming that her child had stopped breathing while eating some Fruit Loops. She lived in a rural area of Roanoke County, so I knew that it would take a while for an ambulance to arrive. While a co-worker dispatched the ambulance, I gave the mother Emergency Medical Dispatch instructions for an obstructed airway, followed by child CPR. Needless to say, the 7 minutes that it took for the ambulance to arrive were the longest 7 minutes of my life.
About a minute before the ambulance arrived, I heard the child crying through the telephone. That was one of the few times I really cried in dispatch, but for relief more than anything else.
This call really defined my whole purpose for being a 911 dispatcher.
We receive a lot of non-emergency calls on 911. Sometimes, we receive a lot of these calls from the same person. An older veteran called us regularly because he was lonely. If call volume allowed, I would listen to him reminisce about his military experiences. As time went on, he would ask to speak to me when he called.
One evening, I answered his call and it was different. He was contemplating suicide. Fortunately, he kept talking to me until first responders arrived at his home to take him to the hospital for mental health services.
As a dispatcher, I know that even my smallest actions can make a big difference.
While working midnight shift, I answered the telephone for a lady who stated that she was in labor. After a minute or two passed, I realized that she would deliver the child before rescue arrived. I gave her quick instructions on childbirth from the Emergency Medical Dispatch cards. The baby delivered still in the amniotic sac. I instructed her to break the water and clean out the child's nose and mouth. One day later, I visited her in the hospital with a healthy baby girl!
I was there for her during one of the most exciting and scary times in her life.