New Year’s Eve
Many years ago I was working the 3pm to 11pm shift on December 31st. I got a call around 11 pm from a man who said he was going to kill himself at midnight and he just wanted to let someone know. I alerted my partner to what I had so she could get a supervisor and get things rolling. I continued to talk to him about anything and everything I could think of just to keep his mind off of what he was planning on doing. I got him to tell me his name, his location, his age, etc. We were close to the same age, so I used that to find things in common that we could talk about.
Meanwhile, squads, ambulances were staging and negotiators were being called in. (All thanks to my wonderful partner!) My concern was the man I was talking to. Midnight came and he was still talking to me. I talked him past his deadline and kept him talking until the negotiator could take over.
We had a good outcome that New Year’s morning. Everyone came out alive and he got the help he needed. I’m sorry to say that back then departments did not think dispatchers needed to go to negotiators training or even be included in the debriefing after a critical incident. This was a perfect example of WHY it is needed and is now part of training in many departments. That night I went home totally exhausted physically and mentally and it is a night I will never forget.