CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Monthly archives for April, 2017

So You Want to Be a 911 Dispatcher? Join the CRESA Team

Are you cool under pressure?  Do you think you have what it take to help callers on what may be their worst day?   When the caller makes the call to 911, it often is when they are mentally and physically at their worst.  Unless someone sits in their chair, on the radio, tethered to the phone for hours and hours, listening to what they listen to, you’ll never understand how it feels and what it takes to be a 9-1-1 Dispatcher!

Why do we share this?  Being a 9-1-1 Dispatcher isn’t an easy job. Dispatchers often are bombarded with calls and work between 10 and 12 hours a day with few opportunities for breaks and no time to reset between calls.  It takes the right type of personality to be able to handle the calls and the pace a dispatcher has to handle.  911 isn’t just a Call Center.  It’s your community’s first-first responders.  Each dispatcher is invested in the moment with people in crisis on the phone.

 

 

Yet with all the craziness the job brings, there are also many rewards.   They provide direction, help, and a direct link to responders.  They coordinate police, fire and medical response to assist those in their time of need. This is a highly trained and specialized team looking for others like them – people with DEDICATION, INTEGRITY, CREATIVITY, PASSION, COMMUNICATION AND CONCERN.  CRESA is highly accredited and has one of the best training programs in the country.  We provide all the training needed to be successful at this job, and yes, to even save a life!

If this seems like a career path you are interested in pursuing, please contact us and apply at www.cresa911.org/employment.

Thank You

Greetings,

This week has been set aside for us to recognize our 9-1-1 Dispatchers here at CRESA and to celebrate National Telecommunicators Week April 9th – 15th.

Our Dispatchers work long hours; at times, 14-hour days serving 25 different police, fire and medical response agencies in Clark County. Last year our Dispatchers received and processed over 408,000 calls; approximately one call every 78 seconds.

Dispatchers are the First – “First-Responders”.  They provide the critical link and the “calm voice” between the community and the responding agencies sent to the scene.  Dispatchers provide information to the responding units while reassuring and directing the caller what to do.

It has been noted in the past, a 911 dispatcher is asked to wear many hats and to switch roles at a moment’s notice as needed.  Roles include everything from: Teacher, Coach, Counselor, Researcher, Geography expert, Negotiator, Resource Manager or “mom”, to name a few.

As an industry, we ask a lot of these dedicated individuals while expecting them to get it right each and every time.   We ask them to gather information from scared, frantic or angry citizens, who often don’t know where they are; type everything into a computer aided dispatch system; determine a priority and dispatch the appropriate help; continue gathering information while listening for calling responders; pass hazard information along to Police, Fire and EMS personnel, switching quickly from one task to the next.

 

Our Dispatchers are passionate and take their responsibilities seriously.  They are driven to do well and care personally about the citizens, officers, fire fighters and medics they serve.  It takes a special type of individual to handle the long hours, multi-tasking and emotional toll it takes to keep the citizens and first responders of Clark County safe.  This is the life of a public safety telecommunicator, or more often known as the 911 dispatcher.

Our community is blessed with having some of the best in the industry and it is my honor to be able to work on a daily basis with the women and men who sit behind the mic and serve as the First-“First Responders”, who are there 24 hours a day, seven days of the week, 365 days of the year.

Please join me this week to pause and take the opportunity to thank them for the great job they do each and every day.

 

Dave Fuller, Director

Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency

 

A Guide: What to Know

Calling 9-1-1 is serious business.  We want you to call 9-1-1 to receive help for emergencies, potential emergencies, or if you are not sure if it’s an emergency.  But what happens when you call for help?  What should you say? What does the person on the other line need to know?  What if you forget something?
Dispatchers are trained to pull and assess information from a caller. Expect them to guide you with questions.  They know what information they need to get first in order to ensure the right type of help arrives in a timely manner, and the best way to get the assistance you need is to answer the questions in the order they ask them.

Here’s a quick guide to help us help You:

  • If you speak another language or dialect tell us right away. At push of a button, we can connect to a translator.  CRESA has translated 9-1-1 calls in more than 170 languages.  Text to 9-1-1 is also available if it is unsafe for you to make a voice call or for individuals with hearing impairments.  Do Not use Emoji’s and be sure to share your location and the nature of your emergency in the first texts you send.  Remember to Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t!

 

  • Let the dispatcher know what is happening. Is there a crime in progress? Is there a fire?  Does someone need medical help? This information lets our dispatchers know what type of help you need.
  • We want to know where the situation is occurring. Knowing your Location is critical in getting the right help to you as quickly as we can.  Provide an exact address if you know it and don’t forget the floor and apartment number if you are in a building.  Unsure of where you are?  A nearby intersection or landmark will help.  
  • When did the incident occur? It is important to know if this is an active situation so our dispatchers can prepare the first responders know what to expect.
  • Let us know who is involved. We want to know if it a family member, someone you know, or a stranger.  It also helps to know if there are multiple people involved and who they are.
  • If weapon was used then let us know. Telling a dispatcher about weapons helps keep the public and first responders safe.
  • Tell us if anyone is injured. If someone is hurt, our dispatchers will ask you a series of questions to determine what type of care is needed.  Our dispatchers are also trained to provide medical instruction until a medic arrives.

It is important to remember the type of response is based on the emergency.  CRESA’s 9-1-1 call center receives more than 1,000 calls per day.  Not every call can or should involve emergency units traveling at high speeds with lights flashing and sirens blaring.  This type of response comes with inherent risk for the public and the first responders, but is rightly reserved for life-threatening emergencies.  Consider using 3-1-1 if your call is not an urgent life and safety call.  As a reminder, the same individuals that answer 9-1-1, also answer 3-1-1, so if you are put on hold, it is because they are currently busy. 

We hope you rarely have to call 9-1-1.  But if you you or someone else is experiencing an emergency, then keep these tips in mind.  Our 9-1-1 dispatchers will help you get the help that you need in a timely manner.

Accidental Calls: Don’t Hang Up!

Ever get a call from a loved one or good friend, and when you answer there is no one on the other end?  You can hear them giggling or chatting away… but its not to you!  I’ve heard friends singing at full volume… out of tune… to the radio unaware that I can hear them also.  You too then have been a victim of a “Pocket Dial.”

This recent phenomena, waccidental callshich may cause a little embarrassment to the caller and a little frustration or entertainment to the call receiver, has also become a problem when that number dialed is 9-1-1.  I am sure like me, you have seen people store cell phones on their bodies everywhere.  Anywhere from pockets, and socks to even bras.  Yes people have become resourceful in how they keep this modern day life line with them at all times.

Or how many of you have given your old phone to your child to play with?  Did you know, that as long as that old phone has a battery charge, it can still call 9-1-1?  If you do decide to let your child have your old phone, take out the battery.

These accidental calls now make up about Twenty Percent of all calls to CRESA 911.  That may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in that by state law CRESA 911 needs to call you back, to verify there actually is not an emergency it starts to really add up!!  In 2015, CRESA received over 408,000 911 calls.   62, 047 of those calls were accidental or incomplete that required a dispatcher to call the caller back to verify there was not an emergency!  Around 1800 of those accidental calls ended in 911 dispatch sending law enforcement to check on the caller.   Just think of the time involved in OVER 62,000 calls answered, and then having to be called back.

                                               Video from King County 911

What Can You do to be Part of the Solution?

  • Use your cellphone’s key lock to help prevent accidental calls
  • Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully
  • Don’t allow children to play with your phones
  • Programming 9-1-1 into your phone may cause accidental calls.  Instead, teach children how to dial 9-1-1.

What Can You do if You Accidentally call 9-1-1?

Stay on the line, and tell dispatchers that it was an accident. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have.  Staying on the line helps ensure that you are OK.  It also helps save time by not having to call you back or the sending of a law enforcement officer to verify you are alright.

Happy Public Safety Telecommunications Week 2017!

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators.  It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (CA) Sheriff’s Office in 1981 after the Sheriff overlooked telling Dispatch that he was taking the administrative support team to lunch.  By the early 1990’s the national APCO organization convinced congress for a formal proclamation that was signed by President Bush in 1992.  To read more about how Patricia got the movement started you can click here.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week helps recognize the more than 500,000 telecommunications specialists nation-wide for an amazing job done in providing excellent public safety.

During the coming week, we will focus on several topics near and dear to our local dispatch staff and what they want you to know to help CRESA help You!  We will of course also highlight our awesome staff and the amazing job they do 24/7.

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