As a 911 dispatcher, ShaNae was trained to expect the unexpected. But one day, a call came in that changed everything.
Most people don’t go to work each day with the concern of going through something that traumatizes them.
If your job is in the medical field, such as in a hospital, you might be saddened when a patient you’ve been working with ends up dying. Or if you work in retail, you know there’s going to be the occasional angry or irrational customer who really gets your blood pressure up.
Here in America, we have the unique problem of school teachers being traumatized because of the very real threat of someone taking a gun and shooting them and their students. We think we’re so smart, yet we’re the only country in the world who hasn’t put an end to that horrifying problem.
But for the most part, people go to work, and they come home, and they don’t suffer mentally from what happened that day.
The big exception to this are the people who work in emergency situations. Firefighters, police officers, EMS - these people are subjected to traumatic situations as a normal part of their job.
And included in that group are 911 emergency dispatchers. In fact, there’s a growing movement that includes legislation to get rid of the common job title “call takers”. Instead, 911 dispatchers are increasingly being recognized as first responders, and they’re getting more access to mental health care, because of what they experience in their work.
My guest today is ShaNae. She knew what came with her job as a 911 dispatcher – long stretches of routine calls, punctuated by the sudden big adrenaline-inducing call from someone who was in serious trouble. It was part of the job. She was trained for this and she knew what to expect.
But there was one day when a call came in, and it changed everything.
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