January 29th, 2015 started out in the dispatch center like any other day. We arrived at 0600 to start the shift, and settled in for the next 12 hours.
At approximately 0830 Dispatcher Enloe answered a 911 call, “Fire and EMS Where is your Emergency?”. Immediately I knew this call was going to be interesting. Sometimes you know this before the call even drops in the CAD, or before the dispatcher says anything. There is a way they sit up a little taller in their chair ready for something big. Dispatcher Enloe had assumed the “this is something big” posture, and the next thing we heard was “can you see or feel any part of the baby?”.
Here we go, she’s about to deliver a baby over the phone!! Radio Dispatcher Garms quickly dispatched Fire and EMS units and we all listened attentively as the call went on. Dispatcher Enloe did everything right, and before we knew it she was walking the scared, about to be father, through the proper steps to deliver his baby.
I quickly started adding information I heard her saying into the call notes for the responders so Dispatcher Enloe could focus on the caller, the mother, and the baby making it’s way into the world. Dispatcher Kasperski relayed all the information to the responding units and continually gave updates as they were making their way to the scene. Hearing all of this, our Director, Assistant Director, and Training Officer all made their way to the radio room to listen.
With a crowd around her console, Dispatcher Enloe kept Dad calm while she told him step by step how to deliver his baby. Six minutes later, which seemed like much longer, a baby crying could be heard! Dispatcher Enloe continued to assess Mom and Baby over the phone while continuing to give Dad further instructions. The paramedics arrived shortly after. Just before she hung she asked the new Dad, “what is it?”. Dad happily exclaimed, “IT’S A BOY!”.
Responders took over and Dispatcher Enloe hung up the phone. The room erupted in cheers and high fives! I wasn’t even on the phone, but my excitement for her was overwhelming! She did AMAZING! The room worked together to enable her to focus on her caller. Everything worked as it should, and the outcome was spectacular!
We all let it sink in while we continued answering other calls coming in to the center, but there was a different feeling in the room the rest of that day. A sense of purpose for what we do. A validation of the importance of our job and role in public safety. This job often goes unnoticed, and without thanks, but that day it didn’t matter. Dispatcher Enloe made a difference and we all felt it.
The EMS units called after they transported Mom and Baby to let us know they were both doing wonderful, and everyone was healthy. Needless to say the rest of that shift we relived that moment any time we had the chance. I think it reminded us all why we do this job. We ARE helping. We DO make a difference. We CARE about the people on the phone, as well as the field personnel on the other side of the mic. We ARE a VITAL part of the public safety family.