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Thread: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

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    Understatmentologist ginormous's Avatar
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    Default 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Back in April, a woman's husband started choking.

    She did what most people would do: called for an ambulance.

    Unfortunately, the person her call was transferred to was so sound asleep, he was snoring into his headset. Admittedly, he was on hour 17 of a 24-hour shift.

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    Super Toneologist longcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    the conditions some 911 operators work in are really deplorable. one lady i worked with in my last job was a 911 operator at one point. she worked graveyard, a 12-hour shift. she was the only one there, so she was almost literally chained to her desk the whole time. she wasn't even allowed to have a bathroom break in the whole 12 hours.

    pretty important position to have someone work a 24-hour shift, wouldn't you think?
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    Mojo's Minions GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    17 hour shifts for dispatchers who are involved in critical decision making for life or death situations? The scenarios could be significantly worse than a snoring guy on the line . . . jobs like this should be treated like pilots (mandatory maximum hours worked) to ensure public safety.

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    Understatmentologist ginormous's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    +1 to all the above.

    I can't understand or justify how anyone would allow a 24-hour shift (straight through!) for such a critical position.

    The man in question is vetted as an experienced fireman. Emergency workers and first responders need to rest. That's why there are sliding poles in fire houses: so that the front-line guys can get out of bed, slap their boots on, jump downstairs and rush to the scene.

    Exhaustion diminishes critical and cognitive thinking as much as alcohol consumption. You want whoever picks up that call to be sharp as a tack. Whatever the bean counters are doing, they're doing it wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    17 hour shifts for dispatchers who are involved in critical decision making for life or death situations? The scenarios could be significantly worse than a snoring guy on the line . . . jobs like this should be treated like pilots (mandatory maximum hours worked) to ensure public safety.
    I agree!
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    Mojo's Minions lpmarshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Emergency response centers generally do not have a lot of budget allocated. That is why you always hear about several counties ER centers merging to save money.

    I don't care what job you have, after so long you feel the effects. I've pulled a few 24+ hour shifts in my career of IT, and you can tell your body and mind start to fade.

    I hope this incident brings some change to the 911 system in their region.

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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    I have few other things to do, but I'll actually post something about this shortly as I grew up in a LE family. My mom was a dispatcher for several years and the 911 coordinator up until she retired about 5 years ago.
    Last edited by Mr 9finger; 05-23-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    17 hour shifts for dispatchers who are involved in critical decision making for life or death situations? The scenarios could be significantly worse than a snoring guy on the line . . . jobs like this should be treated like pilots (mandatory maximum hours worked) to ensure public safety.
    Well it's tax money right? Just like fire departments. You can't have the fire department just put out random houses on fire.

    If you want an awake operator in some parts of the US you have to pay into a special pool. Except that nobody ever tells you about it.

  9. #9
    Jessie's ghost
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    It costs money to staff an emergency call center properly, and people don't like to pay high taxes, so…

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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    I got fired once for sleeping in an air conditioner vent when I worked a stint at a grocery store.

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    Digitally Challenged Mr 9finger's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    As was already mentioned, it all comes down to budgets. Especially if this took place in a small town/county. I'll go out on a limb and say that prob 80% or more of the small towns with call centers are under staffed and overworked. If you've barely got enough staff to cover the shifts you've got, and someone gets sick or has to call in, it complicates the problem even more. More often than not, 911 call centers have 2x as many part time dispatchers than they do full time because the budget can't accommodate more full time staff. Most of the time, those part timers are already full time EMS, Fire, and Police officers looking to pick up extra money. So again, you've got someone that's already working 40+ at their full time job and taking shifts at the call center.

    The seriously messed up thing is, they can't or often don't hire part time off the street because it is, for the most part, a boring job that doesn't pay much and has a high turnover rate. Plus the training and certifications that are supposed to have, cost a lot of time and money to get. If they hire from within the inner circle of LE/EMS/Fire, most of those people already have experience on the radio and procedures, so they don't cost nearly as much to train etc..

    On top of that already being a clutterfut, not everyone/anyone can do it. You have to be a clear concise speaker, absorb and memorize a lot of different codes and procedures, as well as be a quick at critical thinking and multitasking.

    It's not an easy job and the call center people don't get nearly enough credit that they deserve.
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessie's ghost View Post
    It costs money to staff an emergency call center properly, and people don't like to pay any taxes, so…
    Fixed.
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Well if they wanted care they should have bought their own ambulance instead of relying on other people's tax money! Serves them right. Right?

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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Let's each have our own police, too. With Uzis. And dragons.

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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
    Well if they wanted care they should have bought their own ambulance instead of relying on other people's tax money! Serves them right. Right?
    Must resist urge to post political comment…

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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessie's ghost View Post
    Must resist urge to post political comment…
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    I agree on the shifts for 911 dispatchers, 24 hours is way to long. And working 12 hours without a bathroom break is retarded too. I work a 24 hour shift as a Paramedic firefighter, but I can sleep in between calls, there are those rare shift were we run all night. But I can honestly say in the 20 years doing the job I have never missed a call.

    I sometimes would like to work just a 12 hour shift either day or night, but I like my 2 days off in between my shifts, and besides that I am just used to it after all this time.
    Last edited by Bass_Medic_05; 05-24-2012 at 02:51 AM.
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    Default Re: 911 dispatcher sleeping on the job

    Quote Originally Posted by Bass_Medic_05 View Post
    I agree on the shifts for 911 dispatchers, 24 hours is way to long. And working 12 hours without a bathroom break is retarded too. I work a 24 hour shift as a Paramedic firefighter, but I can sleep in between calls, there are those rare shift were we run all night. But I can honestly say in the 20 years doing the job I have never missed a call.

    I sometimes would like to work just a 12 hour shift either day or night, but I like my 2 days off in between my shifts, and besides that I am just used to it after all this time.
    Amen to that buddy! Even the 12s I currently work in the ER are too damn long! ;o)
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