Inside Alachua county's 911 dispatch center
When you’re in trouble, help is always one call away.
A 911 dispatcher may provide instruction in an emergency, or even comfort in crisis.
“Their worst day is our everyday,” said Danika Lubole, a communications supervisor. “We can start the day delivering the baby, we can end the day listening to someones last breath. We can hear gunshots. We can hear people screaming their baby cant breath. Anything you could think of that could happen, we have probably heard on the other end of the line.”
National Telecommunicators Week is here to recognize those on the other end of your emergency line.
This week marks the 50-year anniversary of the very first 911 call.
"It's really exciting because looking back at 911 what it was 50 years ago,” Lubole said. “It's nothing of what you see in this room today. The computer were walls, the phones were gigantic."
Although technology has changed, human emotions have not.
When emotions run high on these calls, those in emergency response rally around each other as a family.
Not only those in the command center, but also those out in the field over their radios.
“Most of the time either they were on scene of it or they’ve been there before,” Lubole said. “So they can really relate to us.”
“That’s the hard part for all dispatchers everywhere is balancing the stress we do,” said Rhonda Marsh who has been a dispatcher for 22 years. “So you have to remember the personal care of ourselves once we’re off duty.”
Everyone may take care of themselves in different ways, but Marsh has found what works for her after her time on the job.
“I step outside the back door and I shake my hands to just release everything I’ve been typing on the keyboard and I yell,” Marsh said.
Although being a dispatcher is a high stress job, everyone in the communications center would tell you each call, each baby born and each life saved makes this job worth while.
"It's an awesome thing to be able to do what we love and help other people as well," Marsh said.