Thursday, January 11, 2007

Work stuff, feel free to ignore

3 things -

#1) Last night my supervisor gave me my stats for last month. They measure average calls per hour, average talk time, and average not ready time (the amount of time we're signed in, but not taking calls.) My talk time was below average for the rest of the shift and the people in my "squad" (those who have the same supervisor.) My not ready time was significantly below shift and squad average, that's great! However, my calls per hour average was less than the average for the shift and for the squad. I guess that's not so good. My supervisor wrote a note on there that I need to improve that. But, I'm taking calls 1 day a week, and 99.9% of the time, that one day I am assigned to take only 911 calls and not both 911 and non-emergency police, so I just don't get as many calls. Ok, wait... I'm being assigned to 911 only, my talk time is down, my not ready time is down... so... my calls aren't low because I'm talking too long or sitting there not ready. The average is down because we just aren't getting that many calls! Maybe I should call myself to get my calls per hour up :P

#2) I really wanted to give one of my co-workers a piece of my mind this morning, but I'm afraid there's not much left :P I had a Spanish speaker who was following a car that had bumped into his. Since I'm unfortunately not bilingual, I had to use our translating service over the phone. So citizen calls us, we have to conference in an interpreter, and sometimes a lot gets lost in translation. This particular call was very frustrating because a) the guy didn't know where he was b) he didn't know his directions AT ALL. Left means NOTHING to me when I don't know if you're facing north, south, east, or west. c) He WOULD.NOT. answer questions that I was asking through the interpreter. He was talking to someone else who was in the car with him. The interpreter kept telling them (somewhat nicely, but firmly) to shut up and answer the questions, but they kept it up, and it was a very frustrating call. Any call where someone is following or chasing is an emergency call, so we had officers going out as quickly as they possibly could to find them. I understand how important it is to get an accurate location, and I was trying soooo hard to do that. Then I had the dispatcher across the room sending me messages saying to take control of the call. WTHECK?!?!? It's not like I could grab the guy by the shirt collar and demand that he answer my questions! It's bad enough when someone refuses to cooperate when they speak English, but it's worse when it's going through an interpreter. Lord, I pray that if I survive dispatch training, may I never forget what it's like to be the one taking the call.

#3) Dispatch training. I feel like the example of the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." I know, I'm not even 40 yet, but when I am there trying to learn this, I feel ancient. I feel like working nights is rapidly sucking out brain cells. I get so frustrated and feel so inadequate sometimes, I'm getting very discouraged. I could use some prayer, because I feel like it's seeping into other areas of my life. I won't go there to explain that all right now, but prayer would be good. I'm really questioning whether or not this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Slightly amusing - a dear eldery lady called this morning because she thought there was someone on her roof. She went over to the neighbors house to call because she tried several times to dial from her house and it just wasn't working. So I got the information and had officers out there, and I could hear her say as she was about to hang up "I don't know what the problem was, I kept pressing 9-9-1, and it just wouldn't work!"


Jessica said...

Sounds like you've had a rough couple days, hang in there... it'll get better! But that is kinda funny that the elderly lady was dialing the wrong number!

Rebekah said...

As far as 'taking control of the call'... I understand what the other dispathcer was saying, but learning to 'take control' can only be accomplished through expierence. And expierence, unfortunately, only comes by screwing up. (not that you screwed up know what I mean)
Becoming a dispatcher will leave you feeling inadequate. But once you pass that 'threshold' you will feel like you have conquered the world. I love being a dispatcher, but I felt like an idiot my first year.
You must read 'answering 911: life in the hot seat' by Caroline Burau. I found the book on You will sooooo relate and maybe it will help you understand that its not 'you'. Its a difficult job to master, but you can and will do it.
I was going through a difficult time starting out dispatching. My stuggles seemed to only amplify in my inability to do my job right. But once I 'got' the job down. I realized that I can do ANYTHING, and I did. I was a single mother raising 2 boys with no family close to help me out. I DID IT...well, God did, but you get my point.
Dont give up on your job. Each call is a 'new' call. Learn from it and make the 'next' call a better call

Connie said...

Rebekah to clarify, 911 and dispatch is separate here, in the same room, but you train separately. I have been in 911 for over 2 years now, and I know how to control calls. If a call can be controlled, I can do it! :) There is going to that call every now and then that no matter what you do, you cannot get the person to give you the information you need to get from them. This was one of those. The dispatcher, who was not hearing me or the interpreter tell this guy repeatedly and firmly that he needed to stop talking and answer the questions, was assuming I was just letting him ramble on. I was not. I don't know what more I could have done or the interpreter could have done to take control.

I know what you are saying - I felt similar in 911 training, although maybe not as bad, because when I trained for 911, I wasn't going on 2+ years of being sleep deprived. In 911 training, you can take your time, hit the not ready button between calls, and make sure you are understanding why something is the way it is. In dispatch, you can't stop. Part of me thinks I just need to give it time and I'll get it - but part of me is really scared by the mistakes I see myself making, and the only explanation I have is that I'm so tired... and I don't know how that can get better.

Rebekah said...

See, its so different here for me. I do it all, at the same time. Which I guess I get confused by comments you make every now and then. Sometimes it seems like you are just starting out and others it sounds like you've bee there a while. I follow you now. 911 and dispatching are 2 different job.
I hope I didnt come off snooty, just trying to encourage :)

Connie said...

I know you were trying to be encouraging :) I know every place does things differently when it comes to emergency services and 911. Here police and fire/medical are separate beasts, although all 911 calls come through the police. I work for the police, and it's a big department. We are supposed to have at least 15 dispatchers at all times and a very minimum of 10 calltakers on weeknights.

I'm just really frustrated with training, and it doesn't help that I'm the first person that my trainer has trained. Tomorrow night when I go in, I will be attempting to dispatch for the busiest, scariest precicnt we have. Pray for me and my attitude, because right now, I just don't see how on a Saturday night... :)

Michelle said...

Prayers your way!

HotRodHanna said...

Let me guess, after all that fustration on the phone, the "suspect" driver had no idea he even hit another car? I love those.

I can sympathize with translation calls too. One hidden pitfall is that the translators do not always do an acurate translation. They may say what they 'think' we meant to ask, or may paraphrase what the RP says. Extremely frustrating since we need EXACT DETAILS! So, I know what it's like to want to crawl through the phone and strangle someone, and they may very well be an idiot caller, but remember to question the translator too. If how much you hear the RP say doesnt match what translator says, call them on it. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to 'control the call', the RP is so far out there, nothing you do will get them to cooperate with you.
I never thought I'd say this, but I MISS WORK! :(

Connie said...

Oh yeah! When I was in 911 training, my trainer was bilingual, born in Mexico. In order for me to learn to use the translating service, she had me process the calls that way instead of taking them herself when we got a spanish speaker. I learned the lesson early on of the translators not always telling you the right thing - we had a taxi driver who was reporting a fare collection problem, and the interpreter told us he was robbed at gunpoint. Ummm BIG DIFFERENCE! But I had to go with what the interpreter said.

By now I've heard it enough and I understand enough that a lot of time I can tell when the caller is saying things that the interpreter is not telling me.

And then I've had them fall asleep on me...

HotRodHanna said...

lol! That's terrible! In the middle of a domestic call with a child RP, I had one start crying so bad she couldn't translate. Big help that was.