Help dispatchers help youMost 911 calls don’t last as long as the one between Douglas County Dispatcher Amanda Kortuem and the Rue family. And usually, dispatchers never know the outcome of the call.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
Most 911 calls don’t last as long as the one between Douglas County Dispatcher Amanda Kortuem and the Rue family. And usually, dispatchers never know the outcome of the call.
“It’s just the way it works,” said Danielle Miller, supervisor for the Douglas County Communications Center. “By the time we send somebody we could be taking a second call or a third call or a fourth call already. We never get to see the end of anything.”
The home birth of Mattson Rue was different, and when the family asked for a copy of the 911 call, Miller was glad to give them one. Kortuem was also willing to meet face-to-face with the family.
“Usually we don’t really want to meet the people and be involved because we want to be anonymous,” she said. “But in this case it was OK.”
Dispatchers stand at the ready 24/7, armed with medical protocol cards, a huge map of the county and other resources. They are prepared to stay calm and lead people through emergency situations. To help them with their job, Miller asked those calling 911 to do the following:
Try to stay as calm as you can.
Listen to the questions and answer them the best you can.
“We’re asking the questions for a reason,” Miller said.
Don’t hang up until directed.
When you call, be prepared to pinpoint your location.
“We answer the phone with ‘Douglas County 911, what is the address of your emergency?’” Miller said. “Because if I don’t know where you are, I can’t send anybody to you.”
The dispatcher job is stressful.
“It gets crazy sometimes,” Kortuem said. “Weekend nights it’s busy around bar close, but days it can get really busy.”
But it is rewarding.
“We all just really like helping people and that’s what gets you through the bad stuff,” Kortuem said.