No matter what happens and what the units in the field are doing or saying over the radio it is the dispatcher’s job to be a professional always. Being a professional always is our job we set the tone over the radio just like managing a hysterical caller we need to do our best to bring those in the field back to the ground so that we can do our job and they can do theirs.
So how do we do this? First off… be calm. No matter what they tell you do not overreact do not give them a reason to get more excited when the adrenaline is already pumping and they’re face to face with an incident that we need to help them manage. When people listen to a radio tape after an incident it’s to hear what command was saying, and we concentrate on the choices they made. It’s not often (unless in dispatch education) that we look at what the dispatcher was doing, saying, or acting during the event and how much it actually affects what happens in the field. Which also brings us to the biggest thing about managing communications in a high tension event is that the units in the field need to trust that the dispatcher is doing everything they ask for. They need to be able to trust that the dispatcher has their back… and they need to know that once they ask for something they have nothing to worry about.
Here is an example from a house explosion that occurred in West Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York where the dispatcher at the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office Fire Communications Center “44-Control” did an amazing job at keeping cool, setting the tone, and allowing “23-Command” (West Haverstraw Fire Department) to rely on her and the other dispatchers at “44-Control”.