Saturday, June 6, 2009


In my never ending quest to find a real job, I answered an online posting for 911 dispatcher trainees at the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA). This morning I went to the initial meeting where a 21-year veteran of 911 service explained the complexities of the job. The purpose of this was to go through the real downside of the job--the hours, the stress, the constant re-certification process and, of course, the calls themselves.

MRVDA covers all of Dona Ana county wich encompasses about 3500 square miles and about 200,000 people from Hatch to Sunland Park. There are 7 different "consoles" that cover different areas and different emergency service providers. You have to become certified in all seven to be a full-time dispatcher so you have to know geography of the area and you have to have EMS training because you're actually what they call an EMD or Emergency Medical Dispatcher. He said giving CPR instructions over the phone was fairly common.

He covered the fact that we would be working rotating shifts over 24 hours and we would have to go through 12 weeks of training before they let you on the phones by yourself and to show us just how gruesome it can be, he played a tape of a call where the woman was on the line with the 911 operator while her husband shot himself in the head. The operator managed to remain totally calm while the woman was screaming and I know several of us in the meeting were rather disturbed by it.

So I don't know how far I'll pursue this. I signed up for the testing (which will come after I pass a background check). It's 2 hours worth of various test including spending about a half hour listening in to real 911 calls. I'm not sure I have the stomach for it but I'm going to check it out because it pays fairly well and you get benefits if you make it past the 12 weeks of training.

I just don't know if it would afford me the time I need to pursue the bath products line. I need to be able to juggle everything.

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