Top Comm Center Headlines

Tuscaloosa residents can now text 9-1-1 in emergencies (AL)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - People in Tuscaloosa County now have another way to alert 9-1-1 that there’s an emergency. Rod Coleman, Tuscaloosa County’s 9-1-1 Director told WBRC that dispatchers are using technology allowing people to text 9-1-1 for emergencies and not...

NENA Cancels In-Person NG9-1-1 Standards & Best Practices and 9-1-1 Goes to Washington Conferences

NENA announced today that it has cancelled its upcoming in-person events ? the NG9-1-1 Standards & Best Practices Conference (originally planned for January ?21) and 9-1-1 Goes to Washington (originally planned for February ?21) ? due to the ongoing public-health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. NENA is exploring the possibility of hosting a virtual 9-1-1 Goes to Washington in February of 2021 and looks forward to resuming the in-person Standards & Best Practices Conference in January of 2022.

Berrien County Names Dispatcher Of The Year (MI)

Berrien County’s 911 Telecommunicator of the Year is Melissa Hensley. During a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners this week, Hensley received the honor with the 911 Advisory Board’s Jack Fisher saying she helped save a life by staying calm during a...

GCHS grad joins KSP Post 4 as dispatcher (KY)

12 Kentucky State Police telecommunicators, one of whom is from Grayson County, were recognized at graduation ceremonies for the 16th class of the agency’s in-house Telecommunications Academy. KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer told the graduates that the role of a...

First responders hold trunk or treat for kids (TN)

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Gibson County Emergency Dispatch held a social distancing trunk-or-treat. Cars drove by with kids inside in the Gibson County E-911 parking lot. First responders passed out candy in order to bring a since of normalcy during COVID-19. Because...


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Deploying Smartphones as Body Cameras: An All-in-One Solution

11:00 am PT, 12:00 pm MT, 1:00 pm CT, 2:00 pm ET

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Customizable, Reliable, Affordable, Secure 9-1-1 solution

A conversation with Darold Whitmer from nga911 about their cloud based solution

Addressing changes Watch now: Bristol, Virginia working to comply with Next Generation 911 system (VA)

Four-and-a-half minutes. That’s how long it took for a Washington County dispatcher to locate an emergency call in 2018 where three bodies had been found in a home near Watauga Road. Confusing addresses, misplaced numbers and duplicate street names can cause...

All Things ECC LIVE – Las Vegas Fire & Rescue

A conversation With Matt Grogan, Communications Specialist, about everything from Route 91 to COVID to Social Unrest and their affect on the Communications Center

Intelligent Scheduling for Safe Cities

A conversation with Greg Kandel and Jason Klink from Informer Systems about automated scheduling for public safety

Considerations when building a Public Safety Communications Center

Willis Carter offers insight on lessens learned and suggestion reference Building one in the current COVID-19 environment

ECC Operations During COVID-19

A conversation with Nonie McCandless about operations in a rural communications center during this pandemic

What All Things ECC has to Offer

Information about a website dedicated to the true first, first responders

ATECC LIVE – Considerations when building a Public Safety Communications Center

Having recently been in charge of building a new public safety communications center, Willis Carter offers insight on lessens learned and suggestions for building one in the current COVID-19 environment

10 Minute Tune: Johnny Gates – Man Flirts with 911 Dispatcher (For Radio Show)

Johnny Gates penned a fun tune about a man flirting with a 911 Dispatcher. This is not a real call.

Elmore County Idaho joins new first responder communication network

At just over 3,000 square miles, Elmore County is one of the largest in Idaho, but also one of the most remote, meaning radio and wireless communication can sometimes be a struggle.

Follow Us @AllThingsECC

Jumping into the emergency services profession during COVID-19 to high priority calls within the 1st hour of taking calls, Ep 349 features Molly, @ESTA000 ambulance call taker out of Melbourne, Australia. It's an episode you don't want to miss! #IAM000

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Put Aside Caller’s Anger

Eric Harne
Dealing with irritated, angry people is periodically part of the emergency dispatcher’s job description. This can be particularly troublesome when dealing with life-or-death situations and the person on the other end of the phone is belligerent and angry. Since it’s an issue that won’t go away, it becomes a matter of defusing the anger and resolving the caller’s problem without resorting to anger and creating a more significant problem.
There’s a methodology to handling such calls—a way to calmly navigate the vitriol while gathering information and successfully assisting the caller. That methodology consists of the Angry Customer Protocol (ACP) and Communications Mapping. The ACP is a tool that emergency dispatchers can implement to control both themselves and the caller, while Communications Mapping is used by quality assurance to visually represent the verbal exchanges between telecommunicator and customer and analyze what went right or wrong with a call. Click read about Communications Mapping.
Someone will always be upset about something and often those same people will verbally abuse those from whom they seek help. Handling these calls properly often falls completely on the shoulders of the calltaker.
Hence, the ACP and its associated rules.
Five rules of ACP
Rule #1: There will always be angry customers. It’s inevitable.
If you’re in emergency communications and wake up every day praying that you won’t have to deal with angry, unreasonable people, you will have a long, unhappy career. Providing a service invites customer complaints. Some of those complaints may be justified, some may not, others may just be misunderstandings, but if you build it, the complaints will come.
Rule #2: Customers will often use language that insults and demeans.
Sooner or later it’s going to happen. Communications can deteriorate very quickly if at least one person in the conversation isn’t the adult in the equation; the only thing worse than expecting respect from a caller is to think that we deserve respect from one. We deserve nothing and realizing that can go a long way in managing both our emotions and those of the angry caller.
Rule #3: Telecommunicators can’t change Rules #1 and #2.
Deal with it. Accept it. Embrace it. The sooner you do, the better off you will be.
Rule #4: Dodge the highly critical or abusive language and grab the facts.
It’s mind-boggling listening to emergency dispatchers going toe-to-toe with an angry caller, exchanging insults, yelling, and believing they’ve successfully transcended the situation by acting like them. Unfortunately, the result of such an encounter yields an even angrier customer, a stressed out emergency dispatcher, and a fractured resolution to the problem. Focus on the message, not the delivery system. A belligerent caller doesn’t negate a legitimate concern that must be addressed.
When we acknowledge the importance of the caller’s concern, without judgment, the caller will often begin to calm down.
Rule #5: Work the facts and resolve the problem.
Once you have the facts, use them to work the problem and resolve the issue to the best of your ability. Most customers don’t want arguments. They want solutions. They want to know that you hear them and you’re taking the actions necessary, so they no longer feel powerless. Being polite, attentive, and constructive give you an opportunity to help the caller, enhance your organization’s reputation, and retain your sanity.
While it might seem counterintuitive, the ACP is designed to reduce our stress. Less stress and a calmer mind enable us to make better decisions. When your mind is cluttered with anger and irritation toward the person you’re supposed to be assisting, the chances of failure increase. It comes down to a simple choice: either react or respond. A calltaker who reacts is an attempt to put the customer in his or her place. A calltaker who responds is unaffected by emotional outbursts and focuses on the facts and resolving the caller’s problem.

Eric Harne has been a 911 dispatcher for 21 years at the Cumberland County (Pennsylvania, USA) Department of Public Safety. He has a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections from Towson University, Maryland (USA).

‘9-1-1. Please Leave a Message’ (OR)

The residents of Portland are getting a look at the future of police services, and response time in Portland. It’s not going to be pretty, judging from this Oregonian headline:“Intruder with knife, boy being held: No Portland police response for 1 hour, 36...

Voice of the People, Sept. 7, 2020

When faced with an emergency, we’re taught to recognize another group of essential unsung heroes: 9-1-1 dispatchers. Every day in over 6,000 public safety call centers in the U.S., 9-1-1 dispatchers are picking up the phone to help people in crisis, some facing their...

Introducing Eric Harne

Editor’s Note: Eric Harne’s column describing Communications Mapping (posted on the Journal website) drew such a large readership that we decided to ask him a few questions about his system. He graciously accepted. His Angry Customer Protocol (ACP) (July/August 2020 Journal) is available in the July/August 2020 issue of the Journal.

Your Stories

UNDER THE HEADSET: A Day in the Life

This is the first installment in a series of fictional dramatizations about the trials and tribulations of a public safety telecommunicator. The story is fictional, but the circumstances are real for many employed in public safety communications.

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