Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Erratic BOLO

Okay so last night was going by fine, Saturday night in Crazy Town woo! Was doing my thing, 911 and non emergency smoothly, should have known something was coming. I get this call about a black 2 door car that could be driving erratically all over the road, crossing double lines, what have you. Caller was being an idiot though and didn't want to give me the plate, didn't want to tell me what part of this amazing long road it was on, and didn't want to give me the guys name or a better description of the vehicle because it was his brother. He also didn't know when exactly it would be on the road but that his brother would be going out and he always drives like a maniac. Wanted us to 'accidentally' find him. He then hangs up and where it's on my non emerg line I don't really have the ability to trace it. Whatever, what I do is send out a BOLO, which is a typed message that goes on the mdt's to all the cars. Typically when there isn't enough for a call we at least have to do a BOLO, even as a matter of CYA. All I could give was my limited description the area that it might be in and what it was doing. Well wouldn't you know it. My peaceful night went up in smoke and I must have turned five shades or red. This is what I wrote for my BOLO.

"Bolo for a blk 2 door car u/k plate, that anon caller suspects may possibly be driving erotically along LongestRoadPossible St sometime this evening. Driver male, u/k name, u/k desp. Caller unwilling to give more information."

I only knew of my typo when I got easily 30 messages from officers on the road, laughing at me. That and just about everyone on the floor. Sigh, damn fat fingers. At least everyone pays attention to my BOLO's now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drunks, Crazies and Crayons

Drinking and driving, yes stupid and dangerous idea. What's even more stupid? Driving along the highway, with a warrant, driving drunk in a veh with expired tags, taking a big ole swing of the Labatt blue while passing a cop car doing excessive speeds! Reminded of the weird al song, dare to be stupid. He dared alright, he dared. Lost his freedom, lost his car, lost some dignity (if he had any left by now, might be in the red)

Sigh. Today was gonzo, just accidents left and right. I swear for the last two shifts I've done nothing but crash cars and talk to those who are off their meds more then they're on. SPCA broke into this women's house to put her bunny back in it's cage and drank her juice ... right.

Question to all the readers out there. I've been informed of this disease where you cannot ask the person a question, at all. They'll have like a panic attack if you do. Apparently we have this new frequently flyer who has it. We've asked our managers how to respond to such a caller and been told, figure it out. Hmmm can't ask anything ... at all. Pretty much go "I see you are calling police .... " And hope they figure in the blanks. I hope she doesn't get friggin robbed at gunpoint cause somehow it will bite me. Let's just say we've already accidentally sent her to the hospital twice already. Whoops! Any ideas on how you would work around that?

Oh one of our managers came by and gave us crayons though. Little confused. They won't help with the poor women we are driving slowly insane but they'll give us crayons. I missed her explanation as to why we all got some, I was too busy looking in the box. There were 4 shades of blue! And white? Really a white crayon. Why? Not being racist but why do we need a white crayon?

Sigh, this is my venting day. Damn this world is a circus.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Fire fighter Calendar

Last year I bought a calendar from my second supervisor, supervisor plaid jacket. He's a deputy chief for the fire station out his way and so always has lot's of fundraising merchandise that comes our way. It was cool because each month showed a station from different parts in Canada, some pictures they'd have helicopters, the trucks and the firefighters and all of their equipment. It was even cool cause Supervisor Plaid Jacket was in one of them. He's been off on vacation though and I got an email from a coworker saying she was selling some too for the station. I told her I'd buy one, 15$ for a good cause, never an issue. Well she gave it to me and right away I knew something was different, especially when she said Mr. February was her favourite. Mr. February? Let's think, last calendar February was the fire dept in Banff Alberta. Opening it up I realize this was quite a different calendar and quickly shut it. Of course my coworkers laughed at me, numerous jokes were flying about how I the 'kid' was being exposed to such pictures. I didn't care about that, I only cared about one thing. I asked her seriously. "Is Supervisor Plaid Jacket in here? With a nope, I flipped it back open and yes, Mr. February is very nice. For all you dirty minded readers out there, *cough* jacks, they do have some clothes on. It did break up the night though I am not sure what to say to my father when he asks to see it this year. "Oh it's nothing out of the ordinary dad, it's just the fire fighters with all of their equipment."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adventures of Peggy's Cove

Well it's my second day off and my Dad and I decided we would take a drive and go see Peggy's Cove. It's a beautiful spot that he spent his summers at while a boy and I make sure to visit a few times a year. The drive gave us time to talk and of course swap stories, he was a dispatcher as well, long long ago. Well it always surprises us how many people there are as we were most certainly not alone. Just coming off the main road there were lines of people trying to go in as well from the other direction. Lucky for us we nabbed one of the last parking spaces, bad for me was the women to washroom ratio, which was not in my favour, damn tour buses.

I don't know about anyone reading my blog, but after a long car ride the first stop is the restroom, well after about 15 mins I finally got one. I normally go up to the Sou Wester Restaurant for my business but this was closer. Did I ever get a surprise. This washroom was quite ... green oriented I should say. The toilets were like ... outhouses but inside and someone actually collected the ... uh ...compost as they called it. Okay, weird, I must remember to never eat locally grown food from Peggy's Cove, it just might be too familiar. There was also urine everywhere, I mean on the seat, on the floor, come on! We're women, we piss sitting down, there's a giant hole, there's no excuse! Someone’s aim was really, really bad. After choosing another stall, we went out to the rocks.

There was this bagpiper who insisted on playing that dang instrument, I can't stand the things. Just when we got away from it, someone was playing an accordion. Come on, play on the rocks, don't panhandle. Took a ton of pictures and went exploring. Unfortunately I still can't walk that far for that long so we packed it in sooner then normal. It was boiling out there, so hot I could just feel the sweat soak into my clothes, pretty nasty image eh? Lol. So we decided to get ice-cream for the ride home. We then stopped for lupper at a place called Sams. It's pretty good for low prices. Now I have Crohns which is like the anti diet, raw veggies hurt and burgers are well tolerated. That meant between a choice of a chicken Caesar wrap and soup, I had soup even though I was still hot.

Well when I began to write this it was nine, a time when my cat, Lee, get's his treat. Now he's been rubbing his head against my leg since then and it is now 9:14 (I’m not slow, multi-tasking). I better go get him his snackies before he decide my leg is his new chew toy. I gotta be careful around him because he likes the smell of my shaving lotion and he might actually take a nibble.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No ears No problem, we arrest anybody! It's just part of the service

Well today was moving smoothly along, quick pace, which I like. Crazy Town was living up to its name today, should have been called Full Moon Town. We got a call from this man who said his mother had just cut off her ear. What a way to pick up your energy mid day. That got us responding code to that, Ambulance hiding in the bushes until it was safe to come out. Turns out she cut off both and her son said she had a 'psychotic episode'. No shit, it's not like she was trying to tune you out or anything.
I got to speak to a lovely lady who apparently was calling me on her cassette player and wanted to press charges of harassment to someone who left their business card on her door. 1) If people knew cassette players were that cool and could call up 911 or anyone else, the cd player would have never replaced it. 2) uh ... 1 business card harassment ... 2 weeks ago ... from the hospital? Apparently she has enemies among the staff and the nurses were out to get her. Well that can't possibly be true, nurse Jackie is in Ottawa!

Ah typical day, very good ... except my sandwich got soggy. :(

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A fuzz ball and a bottle of Sprite

Okay so it was my first day back, I can honestly say I missed the place. I'm walking through the hallway, seeing people waiving and not two seconds, two seconds, it's Kat please come in the office. I gotta say that’s a record for me. So I mosey on over to the office, my supervisor has his little 'focused face' on and using what I call, his big boy voice. I'm getting bit worried. I sit down and he closes the door and flicks the blinds down. Two things could happen here, 1) I get myself murdered, damn first day back and dead. 2) major shit coming at me and I wish I was dead. Either way it didn't look like I was walking out on my own power. Then the bastard cracks a smile and he asks me how I was doing. Whew, okay so looks like there was a third option and that was him pulling one. Told him I was fine, the pain was pretty much gone and whoever said drugs were bad for you was a freakin liar. Drugs are wonderful, they make all the pain go away, lol. Ahh good ole medication.

I go back on the floor and again I'm the shit magnet. Sit down, and the whole two seconds again and suddenly my head is attacked. It's Dispatcher Grumpy and he's messing up my hair! I have medium hair so it's flying all over the place! I'm trying to push him off my head but I'm sitting down and the bastard is standing over me. By the time he's done my head is a fuzz ball. I look up at him through my bangs and he's smirking. I laughed and told him I missed him too. He just smirked and walked away, that's just his way.

I remembered all my passwords so I determined I had not been on leave long enough. The calls came back and everything was smooth. I took a phone message for an officer, just name and number and gist of what they wanted and sent out a MDT message to him. Well three hours later the officer responds, (he was busy on a call I totally get that) and he wanted to know what they wanted. I go back through my sent messages and I realize I hadn't typed that part, just name and number. I'm trying to remember but 3 hrs of trespassers last week, 9 year olds threatening to jump off the roof and people flat on their faces had pretty much pushed that out of my head. He laughed at me and told me that if he was on the call longer then 5 mins I owed him a beer, deal. Got back to me end of shift and apparently it was less then so he owed me one. Nah, I drink sprite. Apparently it was pretty painless so that translated into a cold sprite. Wicked after this muggy day.

So day 1 back, my hair looks like a I got zapped by a super charged tazer, I got a sprite in the owing and bears sitting down in the middle of the road. Yup, good to be back in Crazytown.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

An American Opera

Tonight I was very fortunate to attend a fundraiser for D.A.R.T (Disaster Animal Response Team). This included a viewing of a documentary called 'An American Opera ~ The greatest Pet Rescue Ever'. This documentary revolved around Hurricane Katrina when it struck and how that changed the lives of thousands of animals that needed rescue. It showed the different rescue groups, how there was fighting between different organizations and how the animals were handled once they were rescued. It told disturbing tales of animals that had been left in the schools, in what they thought was good faith where someone would pick them up, only to discover most of them had been shot and killed once they left. It stirred emotion from me, not in terms of crying but wondering why that happened. I felt the documentary in whole was informative in the emotional aspect but lacked a lot of actual facts, which the creator stated in the q and a. The film wasn't about providing facts and figures about the hurricane just the human and animal element.

Looking around I could see most were red eyed by the end of it though my father and I were not. I dunno we're not really crying in public people I guess. My father had asked me what my evacuation plan was for Lee (my kitty), I told him it was simple, my plan was he came with me. Of course he brought up the point that many of the residents of New Orleans were forced at gun draw to leave their pets behind. I had to acknowledge that, so I smugly smiled and pushed his shoulder. "You."

Hurricane Katrina was something so overwhelming large that one cannot begin to understand it just by watching a video. This documentary was a small slice of what happened to that region. We can only hope that things were learned during the response so that it has some silver lining.

I've included a picture of a signed poster I recieved and stuck up on my office wall and also a picture of my Lee. He is a devil in the cutest cat costume. I also go to have my picture taken with the creator, super cool.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why I do my job

I had a dream tonight, one that bothered me enough to get up and write a post about it, at least so I can get my thoughts straight about it. It's the kind of dream that is actually a memory, they're the worst kind because it actually happened. I dreamt about the call where a year ago now, I had been at work and it had been a pretty busy night. I remember that everyone was getting a bit cranky with each other and the room was crowded with extra people. I had just taken three back to back noise complaints on 911 which had me in less than a good mood so when the next call came in I'm sure my opening script wasn't as great as it should have been. It's funny how it can be so busy, everything thundering around you and with a few words it all just disappears.

It was a man on the phone, he said he didn’t want to live anymore, that he had a noose already around a neck and he was going to jump off a chair. He just didn't want to be alone when it happened. The whole room went silent, I didn't hear anything else, it was just me and him in that brief second. My heart was stopped and everything hurt, this was the call I had feared most since I started. It was the one where my caller could live or die before the police arrived and which would happen would depend on me alone. I didn't know what to say, what can you possibly say to something like that, but what my trainer had said would happen did. I began to talk, I began to talk with words that I had no control over, they were just coming out. I told him that I was glad he called and that I wanted to listen to him. I had an address so I was already entering a call, I was already messaging a co-worker to call me an ambulance, it was all happening while I was talking to him. I was able to talk to this man who wasn't like most of our suicidal callers. He wasn't drunk, he wasn't hysterical, he wasn't the kind that made this remark by the hour. He was feeling alone, desperate and at a loss for what to do. I lost the call several times, it kept disconnecting on us and each time I would call him back fearing that he would not answer but every time he did. Damn technology. I confirmed his address and kept talking to him.

I had talked him into taking the noose off of his neck and even untying it and putting it by the front door. I talked to him until police arrived, he thanked me and that was it. I had disconnected the call and just sat there. I felt so good that he was okay, that it was over. Then I just stared at my screen unable to really move. I was still newish and this one left me a bit unnerved. It was still busy, I remember starting to hear the noise again and my 911 was ringing again. I couldn't answer it. I remember someone making it 'not ready' so it would go to someone else. Then they put their hand on my shoulder and we walked off the floor. I was still out of it a bit but in the hall I began to cry (sigh I know but it was my first really omg call). It wasn't like gobs of teenage drama but I got a hug out of it. It surprised me that people who were on lunch came over, I got hugs from all of them. At this point I feel a bit stupid, senior dispatchers are all around me and here I am, the rookie wussing out in the hall. A few minutes of hearing 'the one' story that they all remembered of their own made me feel included, in a morbid way. The one who walked me out and hugged me first was the one who was hardest on everyone, the fire pistol as we call them. She had to go because 911 was still flying off the handle. I needed a minute though so I went to the locker room and called my dad, he's former police. We talked for five minutes then I went back myself. I remember what it taught me, that no matter what call you take, no matter how stupid you answer the next with full attention because you don't know who's counting on your tone.

Every time I have this dream I think about what happened to that man. Was he able to find help long term? Did he attempt and commit suicide after that night? It's hard not to have the answers to these questions. It's strange the ones that come back to us, and those that don't. Since then I had taken more OMG calls, a woman screaming her dead husbands name as he's dying from a fall down the stairs. Hearing someone scream and cry about all the blood. Hearing a mother cry for her infant child to breathe. These calls I think about, but they do not visit me in my dreams. Just my first, and I always remember the way he said it. When he thanked me, it meant more then anything I could express. Those simple, overused, rarely meant words were real and honest. That is why I do my job.