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I Witnessed
As I walked into work, it seemed like it was going to be a normal summer evening around the ECC. I had been a Communications Officer for just over a year and still anticipated those “big” calls. I decided to start answering telephone calls a few minutes before my shift started, since there were several incoming calls. When I answered my first call, I could only hear crying and shrieking from several young children. A distraught female began telling me that she thought her father was having a heart attack. I automatically asked her if he was breathing. She said that his breathing was fast and labored. Then, she told me he had stopped breathing. She was only 15 years old, but I insisted that I could instruct her to do CPR, if she was willing to do so. We started CPR and I counted compressions with her. As she told me his eyes and lips were turning blue, I reassured her that help was coming and I was right there with her. She did amazing chest compressions until the paramedics arrived and confirmed that her father was in cardiac arrest.

She is a hero, because she saved his life by having no fear. I just witnessed it.

I Assisted
When I first started my career as a Communications Officer, I answered a 911 call from an elderly man. He was requesting assistance with his dog. The dog had fallen down some steps. The man was too frail to get his dog back up the steps. At that point in time, this incident was not something that a law enforcement officer would handle. However, my conscience would not allow me to leave the elderly man and his dog in this situation. During my break, I called some of my friends from the volunteer rescue squad and told them about the situation. All of them were willing to help. They borrowed a stretcher from the fire station, placed the dog on it, and brought the dog up the steps where he was reunited with his owner.

In this career, you have to think outside the box to give your community the best possible service.

I Comforted
As a Communications Officer, you will occasionally take a 911 call from someone you know. While it is really hard not to tell them who they are speaking to, you must maintain professionalism and calm them just like any other caller. While I was in training, I took a call from a friend whose house alarm woke her up at 6am. She was alone in the house and absolutely terrified. She was not able or willing to go look at the alarm panel, which was downstairs, to see where the alarm had originated. She was too scared to end the telephone call with me, even though she was not hearing any unusual sounds in the house or seeing anything unusual outside. Police officers arrived, checked her residence, and made contact with her after 17 minutes. Those were 17 VERY long minutes.

Being able to console my friend was a good feeling. Knowing firsthand that she was safe was an even better feeling!