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    Emergency Dispatch, “90% Routine, 10% Organized Chaos”

    NAVSTA Rota’s Emergency Dispatch

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Lewis | 190329-N-TR141-0036 NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (March 29, 2019) Robert Benson, a lead...... read more read more

    “During critical moments in someone’s life, placing an emergency call for help to 9-1-1 can be traumatic,” said Lolita Crutcher, Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain’s lead emergency response dispatcher. “Oftentimes, the trained voice on the other end of the line can make all the difference. Dispatchers support the front line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They make quick high-stakes decisions that help protect the public.”

    NAVSTA Rota is celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators week, April 14-20, which honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professional and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

    Rota’s Emergency Dispatch Center is manned by both active duty Navy and Department of Defense civilian emergency response dispatchers. Surprisingly, the Navy personnel are Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (Handling) and one Fire Controlman (FC).

    “Our Navy personnel are typically placed in the dispatch center outside their rate,” said Michael Harris, supervisor of the Emergency Dispatch Center. “[NAVSTA] Rota’s local Dispatch Center’s extensive on-the-job training program has proven to be very successful, as many of our Navy personnel have done very well during their assignments.”

    Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (Handling) 2nd Class Jonathan De Leon, an emergency dispatcher, and his wife, came to Rota after his tour aboard the amphibious assault ships USS Peleliu (LHA 5) and USS America (LHA 6).

    “This job is very different than working on the flight deck,” said De Leon. “Instead of running up and down the flight deck and launching jets and helos every day, I am at a desk answering calls and ensuring people are getting the emergency help they need when they need it.”

    De Leon added that the feeling of accomplishment is great when they “get all the pieces right and people get the help they need.”

    “Telecommunicators (dispatchers) are the ones behind the scene,” said Crutcher. “They are the ones who answer when you dial 9-1-1 when you need help. They are the calm voice in that moment of need, and the ones who get the information to tell first responders where they are needed.”

    The team of dispatchers monitor security and fire alarms from various buildings on base, monitor radio traffic between the security patrol units, send patrol units to any emergencies that need a security response, answer emergency 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls, monitor radio traffic with the fire department and communicate with ambulances and send them to any required base emergency.

    Robert Benson, a lead dispatcher, said a normal day for a dispatcher is, “90% routine, 10% organized chaos.” He added, “When the 9-1-1 line rings, your adrenalin shoots up, heart starts racing, and your senses become focused and fine-tuned to provide the best possible service you can give! A sympathetic, confident, and assertive voice can save a life.”

    While dispatchers are devoted to their vital mission, it doesn’t make the personal sacrifice easier.

    “In my opinion, the hardest part of the job is the shift work,” said Crutcher. “Missing Christmas, birthdays, school functions, family events, etc. is tough. Going into the job with a clear understanding of the sacrifices you are required to make year after year is a must.”

    “It takes a special kind of person to perform the job. The profession demands that individuals have a unique set of professional skills and personal attributes,” said Harris.

    Dispatchers are there for community members in their time of need. From a car accident or someone contemplating suicide to instructing a person on how to administer CPR and more, a dispatcher is on the other end ready to help.

    “I know it’s not a perfect outcome every time I answer the phone,” Benson explained. But when he can help the person on the other end, “that is what makes this job incredible.”



    Date Taken: 04.04.2019
    Date Posted: 04.04.2019 10:54
    Story ID: 316890
    Location: ROTA, ES 

    Web Views: 154
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