Recently I was listening to radio traffic from an incident and I was struck by how uncomfortable the dispatcher sounded on the radio. They sounded uncomfortable, confused, and nervous. You could hear the effect on the responders on scene immediately. I’m so used to hearing strong, confident dispatchers that I was taken aback.
Around the same time I had a conversation with one of my officers about their confidence in dispatchers. They told me how they have noticed officers will change their attitudes with certain “stronger” dispatchers. He said he feels “safer” on the street with a “strong” dispatcher working the desk.
In a training class a conversation began about the role of a dispatcher in firegound communications. In reality this topic deserves it’s own series of posts, but to sum the discussion up most of the fire officers in the class felt a strong dispatcher ensuring effective communication was vital to fire fighter safety.
There is no doubt that a calm, confident, well spoken dispatcher will make a difference in a crisis. We are the lifeline for our responders. If they do not feel they can trust us, they won’t. When they don’t trust us, people could get hurt or die.