PTSD in Telecommunicators

The movement #IAM911 brought to light what telecommunicators have always known, we too are emotionally affected by the job we do.  We and those around us just did not know it was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It’s not easy to answer the phone, listen to a child scream in pain as they are burned by flames as his drunk father yells at him. Only to then hang up the phone and have to answer the next call that comes in about someone who locked their keys in their car.

When we hang up the phone, no matter what kind of call we just took we absolutely have to quickly adjust our mindset and prepare for the next incoming call. This all happens in literally a few seconds.

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The post I had shared August 2016 during the #IAM911 Campaign

Never do we get to go to the scene and see these voices we hear. Some voices become so familiar the caller’s name, address, and often date of birth are singed into our memory. Some voices have obvious fear in them, some of the voices are those of desperation, some voices have sounds of helplessness and some have hatred.

Never do we get to see what sounded like screams of sheer terror was actually a small child crying from a bump to the knee when we answer a 911 call that is quickly hung up.

When our officers (and yes they are OUR officers, they are the brothers and sisters I never wanted but sure glad to have them) are on a call and not answering their radio when we call them we do not get to quickly turn the corner because we were en route to them anyways to see they are just fine. They hadn’t heard me calling them to make sure they were safe because they were playing catch with the neighborhood kids.

As 911 dispatcher’s we are the unseen, we are very rarely thanked.  Although we are the first line in public safety we are usually the last one you think of when the term public service is used.

So often people assume that all 911 dispatchers want to be cops or firemen. Nope, many cops and firemen couldn’t handle this job. Just as many dispatchers couldn’t nor want to be in their boots. 911 dispatchers should be proud of who they are and of what they are for they are not ONLY dispatchers…they ARE dispatcher.

For all of these reasons and many many more PTSD and stress runs rampant through our profession. I ask of you one thing…during this week that we celebrate our Telecommunicator’s…be sure to do some self-care. It is not a sign of weakness it is smart!!!

Be sure to get in a routine to check on your co-workers. Did they take a rough call? Offer to listen while they go get some fresh air or while they call their family just because.

Most importantly, don’t do nothin‘!! (oh my poor English teachers would be screaming if they saw that)

 

TO TC’S ALL ACROSS THE LAND,

HAPPY TELECOMMUNICATOR’S WEEK AND THANK YOU!!! 

 

RESOURCES

Emergency Dispatchers and PTSD

PTSD and Emergency Telecommunicators

She is a Girl: Why your Husband’s Female Partner is your Ally

I can still remember the glares I would get at functions where my co-workers’ significant others were present. They never seemed to even give me a chance. At first I took it personally, then I became a LEO Wife. Suddenly it became clear to me. I was seen as the enemy. I was the woman who saw her husband probably more than she did.  I got it. So I want to help quash this misconception.

Fig Cop Police Colleagues Funny Policewoman

Today on Love and Blues check out my post about the reality of what your husband’s female partner is about.

I am Unique…at least my mom says so

It’s true my mom does think I am unique. But I am certain it’s not for the same reasons I want to share with you.  I have a very special and unique viewpoint that I hope to help share and unravel some of the mysteries of the public service world. My secret is, I am a retired police officer.

Phew, I said it now it’s out there. I am one of them and I am a LEOW (law enforcement officer wife).  Without turning this into a pity party the reason I am “retired” is because I had to have a multievel spinal fusion which means I can not run and I can not life more than 25lbs, which means I can not be the police any longer.   I was on the road for 9 of the best years of my life. I miss the road every day and would give anything to be back out there.  I had all male partners, all male bosses, and a few women in the locker room with me every now and again.

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November 1999 Police Academy Graduation 

I went to the other side of the radio as a dispatcher where I still worked as the lifeline for our LEOs.

I hope to share some knowledge gained from my experiences on the road and behind the radio microphone. If I can put someone at ease by providing some insight that will make every moment I ponder every word I type worth it.

If you have a topic or an issue I can help you work through or is worth a discussion on The Blue Line Warrior I would love to hear from you.

In the mean time, Be Vigilant, Be Safe. and try to keep my unique secret to yourself (;

It’s all in a name….

As I start my journey into blogging of course the first item I want to check off on my to do list was coming up with an identity, a blog name. I started to think about the feelings I get when I tell people what my husband does for a living.

PRIDE

Immediately an overwhelming feeling of pride washes through my entire being and finds a resting place in my heart. With honor I am able to say our family serves the public on a daily basis.  Then I puff out my chest and share that my husband is a police officer and has been for almost two decades.  Then I wait for the reaction….

PROTECTIVE

I can bet on two different reactions when someone hears of my husband’s career.  Lately, more often than not I SEE the reaction first. The look on the person’s face says it all, disapproval.  This immediately puts me off and I am now on the defensive. I mention just a few of the many sacrifices our LEOs (law enforcement officers) and their families make on a daily basis. I feel a sense of responsibility and desire to protect the integrity of our LEOs. Although this exchange is over, my counterpart in this conversation is still making the same disapproving face of what appears to me to be a hatred towards those who represent the BLUE LINE. Because of this, I must protect. I defend what it means to be within the BLUE LINE.

SYMPATHY

The other reaction is that of sympathy. With this response the head tilts and the eyebrows raise, the eyes looking back at you as if they were saying “you poor thing”. Little do those who react that way know that we are the glue that holds the BLUE LINE family together. We are the ones who put on a brave face to the children who are wondering where their LEO parent is at. We are the ones who spend nights awake because we have not heard from our LEO then get up in time to get the kids off to school and ourselves off to work while the entire time we have a pit in the bottom of our stomachs, ourselves wondering why we have not heard from our LEOs. Did I mention that we are listening to every scanner app, watching social media, looking for news broadcasts to make sure there is not a report of an officer being killed, that could possibly be our LEO. The sympathetic reaction may mean well but those who react this way underestimate us, greatly.

THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT……

For these reasons, I feel like a warrior. We must take back our BLUE LINE. Remind the doubters what it means. Protect what we know is right and defend the honor of our LEOs. It is a time to come together, it is a time to be proud, it is now when we need to show solidarity.

REAL WARRIORS DEFEND AND FIGHT FOR OUR COURAGEOUS PROTECTORS. For this reason I hope you join me in the adventure of being a BLUE LINE WARRIOR.