The majority of my career as a dispatcher has been spent in what we lovingly refer to as, "The Police Pit". It is where I feel most at home. It is exciting and fast paced and typically always busy. Almost a year ago, I made the move to "The Fire Pit". This was one of the hardest moves of my career. It pulled me completely out of my element! There was so much to learn, so much to remember, and totally different from police!
As a Police Dispatcher, you pretty much work independently. If you get busy and need something, have a major incident involving multiple agencies, or need something from a neighboring agency, your other dispatchers are there to help. Otherwise, you are on your own. Working as a Fire dispatcher is completely different .. at least in our dispatch center. There are three or four of us at any one time. We work as a team. If one is working something, we all are. One of the hardest things for me to learn was all of the command names the different fire agencies use. There are just so many!
Working as a fire dispatcher comes with a lot more down time, but when it gets busy, it gets busy! Last week, I had a house fire that quickly turned into a 2 alarm. As we were dispatching out the second full assignment, we received another house fire on the opposite of the valley. It took every one of us, our supervisor, and our fire manager to manage the influx of units going out at once. It created holes in area coverage that we had to fill with other agencies in case of other emergencies. We worked as a team, and we kicked those fires butts! I was never more proud of my coworkers. Before I could tell them I had a working fire, they were making notifications, if I needed something, they were on it. All I had to do was listen and respond to my units. They were incredible! Though both houses sustained considerable damage, there was no loss of life, and was contained to the homes where the fires started.
My fellow dispatchers were key in making all of this happen smoothly and efficiently.
Thank you team, I couldn't have done it without you!