BIRMINGHAM, Ala., (WIAT) — Every year, Birmingham’s 911 system receives about 836,000 calls a year, and emergency dispatchers are the very first responders. They translate a caller’s situation into actionable instructions so police, fire, or medical teams can respond as quickly as possible.
It’s an incredibly demanding job, with some shifts lasting up to 16 hours. That’s a lot of time spent listening to terrified callers in their most desperate moments, and it takes a certain kind of person to survive the stress.
“To say that 911 doesn’t come with its stress that would be a blatant lie,” says dispatcher Michael Knight. Knight says in high-stress situations dispatchers are trained to use persistent repetition where they say the same thing, in the same manner with a calm voice.
All of this after Birmingham has been dealing with shootings, accidents and other emergencies last week.
If you’re interested in becoming a 911 Dispatcher, you can apply by clicking here.