Top Comm Center Headlines

KSP Post 3 welcomes new Telecommunicator (KY)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Twelve Kentucky State Police telecommunicators from throughout the Commonwealth were recognized at graduation ceremonies for the sixteenth class of the agency’s in-house Telecommunications Academy. The Post 3 graduate of the 16th KSP...

Serious issues persist at Tucson’s 911 call center (AZ)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A just released report (which you can find here) paints a dysfunctional operation at the Public Safety Communications Department in Tucson. The PSCD dispatches 911 calls for both police and fire departments. The Tucson City Manager,...

Survival Flight Rejoices in Dispatcher Recovery (MO)

Shelby County 911 Dispatcher Chris Rich was recognized by Survival Flight on Friday, Oct. 9 for her dedication to the community at 911.     On Aug. 24, Rich was getting ready to work a shift at the Shelby County dispatch center when she experienced a...

‘9-1-1, what is your emergency?’ (OH)

It was almost 21 years ago, February of 2000, I was honored by Mayor David Raizk, when he asked me if I would assume the role of Director of Public Safety for the City of Wilmington. The city safety director is responsible for administrating all safety services within...

Supporting Communities in Need and Increasing Officer Safety with FirstNet

By Harry Markley, Senior Law Enforcement Advisor, First Responder Network Authority
Protect and serve, that is the motto of many law enforcement agencies across the nation. Every day, officers and deputies work in our communities handling incidents ranging from traffic violations to someone’s worst day. Each day is a new day with new challenges, but the “protect and serve” motto never changes.
Technology has evolved significantly, providing a cache of new tools for first responders in the field. Law enforcement agencies across the country are turning to technology for innovative ways to protect and serve their communities. With FirstNet – the only nationwide broadband network built for public safety – officers have secure, reliable access to apps and devices that help them in their everyday duties. Discover how two agencies are using technology to provide care to their communities and how FirstNet can support these advanced capabilities. READ MORE

Texting 9-1-1 is Now Available in Humboldt County (CA)

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office announced today that texting 9-1-1 for emergencies is now available in unincorporated areas of Humboldt County, the city of Fortuna, Arcata, Humboldt State University and California Highway Patrol (other local cities will be...

Local public safety agencies launch Vitals program (CA)

Personnel at the Winters Police and Fire Departments are now using the Vitals app as a tool and resource to better communicate and respond to people who are non-verbal are are unable to communicate well with first responders and emergency personnel. Vitals serves as a...

Town Meeting to decide on new public safety facility (MA)

IPSWICH — A plan to build a new public safety facility is one of the many issues at stake at a Special Town Meeting scheduled for Saturday. Voters will decide if the town should spend $630,000 to buy land to serve as the site of the proposed building, and also whether...

911 award (MS)

It is the calm voice on a caller's worst day. The job of 911 dispatcher - or as they are known - telecommunicator - can be chaotic and stressful. But it is appreciated. This morning a member of the oktibbeha county emergency management team was honored as...

Woman charged in Central Park 9-1-1 call (NY)

NEW YORK CITY (NBC) — The Manhattan District Attorney filed a misdemeanor charge against the woman who called police on a Black man who was birdwatching in Central Park this past May. The D.A.’s office also revealed that Amy Cooper had made a second 9-1-1 call about...


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Preparing for Upcoming Grant Cycles

9:30 am PT/10:30 am MT/11:30 am CT/12:30 pm ET

Subscribe to Comm Center News

Get the latest News, Articles, and Insights from weekly in our newsletter.



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

#FirstNetinAction – Discover how @FirstNet is helping @HCCC911 tactical dispatchers answer the call in the field – as if they never left the comms center. Get the full story here ->


Twitter feed video.#VOTE

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an election happening, and voting is EASY! Choose an option that works best for you. #VoteSafeVoteEarly #VoteSBCounty

Ep 349 features Molly, ESTA Ambulance Call-taker of Melbourne, Australia. It was an honor to have her on the show and it’s one you don’t want to miss. It drops 10/28 but Patrons already have access.

Load More...

Reclassifying Emergency Dispatchers

The concept of “professionalism” was Grogan’s segue into changing the classification system for emergency dispatchers. He started “hearing rumblings” about circumventing a protracted timeline for again attempting to upgrade their status from administrative assistants....

Emotional Labor

Kathy Muhlhan
Emotional labor in emergency dispatch is the work you do to express or suppress your own emotions to produce the required emotions and responses in your caller. When I am feeling exhausted at 4 a.m. I put aside my personal feelings to meet the needs of my caller. A panicked caller requires me to adjust my conversational style and speak to them firmly. An urgent tone is required to get help organized quickly. The work of calltaking is emotional. Understanding this is crucial to learning how to care for ourselves as calltakers, and for leaders and organizations to support their staff.
Emergency dispatching energizes me. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that I contribute to the community. I am proud of my ability to manage a difficult and stressful job that not everyone can do. I feel connected to my crew who I work alongside and enjoy sharing stories of difficult and interesting calls with them.
Despite all this, the work can be emotionally exhausting. An incongruence between how I am feeling and how I need to sound on the phone can wear me out. When I am tired, don’t want to face another death, or run out of caring, I will not express this on the phone. If I don’t express it, however, it builds up inside me and can leave me exhausted. This exhaustion can lead to numbness.
A certain amount of emotional distance is required to manage the ongoing emotional demands of the role, but numbness is more extreme. It reduces the benefits I feel from performing the role. I still have to endure shift work, time pressure, repetition, scrutiny, attention to detail, but when I am emotionally numb, I don’t get to enjoy the excitement of babies that are born, appreciate callers who are helpful and thankful, or recognize the bravery of my patients. The satisfaction of a job well done may be replaced by a cynicism regarding the impact of my work. I may withdraw from the camaraderie of shared storytelling with my colleagues and work alone. I am better able to enjoy my job when I am emotionally fit and healthy.
I can look after my emotional health by investing in my relationships, having a hobby, exercising, and eating well. Keeping emotionally fit and healthy, however, is not just the responsibility of individual emergency dispatchers. We can be protected from emotional exhaustion by a strong and supportive team culture, by organizations that recognize and celebrate our role, and by ongoing education. The emotional labor of taking emergency calls is better performed in a safe environment where we can express our anxieties, lack of confidence, and need for affirmation without fear of judgment.
Organizations can support and celebrate emergency dispatchers by hosting events where we are reunited with our callers, by working with the media to share stories of success, and by internally recognizing the genuine care and professionalism of individuals. When we believe our job is important and valued, we are better equipped to manage its challenges. Ongoing education is vital to cut through the emotional toll of calltaking. Education can introduce new coping skills and connect us to a worldwide network of others facing the same emotional demands that we are.
We are the emotional muscle on the front line of emergency services. Maintaining our emotional health equips us to function well in the role and to continue to enjoy the benefits long-term. When we are supported by our crews and organizations, continue to believe deeply in the intrinsic value of our role, and receive ongoing education, we can keep our emotional muscle strong, bounce back from exhaustion, and enjoy a job well done.

Kathryn Muhlhan is an off-shift workplace trainer at ESTA in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, where she has worked for the past four years. Kathryn is passionate about training new ambulance calltakers and mentors, and, also, maintaining the mental health and well-being of calltakers and emergency dispatchers.

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.

Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Share Your Story

Join our community to share your experience and connect and collaborate with colleagues.

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest News, Articles, and Insights from weekly in our newsletter.

* indicates required

Follow Us

Stay connected with the latestEmergency Communications News, Articles & Information.