911 dispatchers rely on co-workers to cope with stress - WNEM TV 5

911 dispatchers rely on co-workers to cope with stress

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

It’s not easy being an emergency 911 dispatcher.

Matt Hooverman is the supervisor of a team in Saginaw County.  The 13-year veteran said calls involving children in life and death situations are the toughest for most of them to handle.

"Most of the people who have children have a harder time with calls involving children because you try to relate," Hooverman said.

Darin Powell has been an emergency dispatcher for 21 years, he's dealt with life and death situations many times, and it's not easy.

"The hardest thing about calls like that, life and death in my opinion is we take so many non-emergency calls, and non-emergency after non-emergency after non-emergency and then there's that call," Powell said.

And that's when they need to be ready.

"There's no change to change over, you've got to be able to help that person right now, not 10 seconds from now, not a minute, they need your undivided attention right now," Powell said.

One thing that these folks say they all have in common is that this is one, big family.  And they're here to support each other.

"Most of the time the feelings we have we talk amongst ourselves, and like I said this is like a second family. I'm here with these folks as much as anybody else so we talk like brothers and sisters and that's how you let those emotions come out," Hooverman said.

Powell retires in four months. He said the stress and emotion of dealing with such tense situations melt away when his shift is over.

"The best part of the job is at the end of a long, hard day actually looking back and knowing is that you really did help people who needed help today," Powell said.

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