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That Voice in the Night

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It was 18:00; thus the start of my shift
I just wanted to get through it without any rift
As I sat there quietly, I knew it had begun
Precisely at that moment the 1st 911 had rung

No one would answer when I asked; the emergency and the address
911 hang up call, would have been my first guess
I once again asked; 911, is anyone there?
“I am here”, said a small voice, that sounded very scared.

“Mommy and Daddy are fighting, Daddy’s really mad
I am so very frightened, he cried and also very sad.”
“I am in Mommy’s room; I am hiding under her bed,
I am on Mommy’s cell phone, I hope it does not go dead.”

He sounded very fragile, that tiny voice in the night
I would do everything in my power with all of my might.
I obtained his address, his phone number, and then I got his name
I was really amazed at this child who was being so very brave.

With everything he told me and the sounds that I could hear
Both adults physically fighting, broken glass that was clear.
Through it all I kept talking to him, I was all that he had
He was my eyes and ears in the room, the situation was very bad.

I told him I would not leave him, if he had to put down the phone,
I told him don’t hang up, so I could hear, and he would not be alone
I told him they were coming, that the officers would help him
He thought the reason they were fighting was all because of him.

I told him to stay calm, and pretend I was in the room with him
This helped calm him over the yelling, and the things being broken
The officer yelled the child’s name, his voice sounded like thunder
The child yelled, “Here I am! See the bed? Please take a look under.”

The child said, “He’s really here, you did it”.. and then he said “Thank you.”
It was in that moment I knew that’s why I do what I do.
Officers arrived and calmed everyone, the child was found safe and alive
The length of this call, the total minutes were only about 5.

It always feels like a lifetime passes, with each call like this we take
It does not matter the type of call, or the decisions we have to make.
These calls can be difficult and emotionally draining.
We can only do the best we can and rely on our training.

After the call I stepped away for a moment to digress
It was good to get my head on straight and also to de-stress.
I walked outside and smiled, relaxed as I cleared my head
I did everything within my power, that much could be said.

This is the profession I have chosen, each day a brand new call
Each call may be different, but you learn to handle them all.
My goal is to have fun, work hard, and to do my best
Then safely go home to my family, not to dwell on the stress.

We do this for hours and hours; sometimes it never seems to end
The next day we then head back to work, to begin it once again.
Is the life of a Dispatcher, you know our voices but never see us
We could be standing right next to you in a store or riding the bus.

Dispatchers are an important part of the team, usually forgotten and far away
When it comes to debriefings and compliments, we’re not included and have no say.
We gather the info, and dispatch the help so they can get to you
We are the true first responders, the glue between the red and blue.

Thomas Nedzbala
Arizona
©2013

 

Thomas Nedzbala began his career in emergency services in Florence, New Jersery, in 1980.  He moved to Arizona in 1993 where he has held several positions providing dispatch services for police, fire, medical and air medical communications centers.
 

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