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What It Means When 911 Dispatchers Are In ‘The Loop’ — And How They Handle It
As seen on "911 Crisis Center," dispatchers rely on their own skills and fellow team members when the going gets rough.
Emergency dispatchers have a term for when they repeatedly handle the same kind of call.
On “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen, they explain that they refer to that as getting stuck in “the loop.”
Dispatcher Jennifer Barber, a working mom who used to coach youth gymnastics, confronts that situation when 911 calls concerning children and young people pile up for her. While Barber takes every call that comes her way, these calls hit harder than ever because she recently handled one in which a baby didn’t survive.
“It was just an all-around terrible call,” said Barber.
How to cope with the loop? Barber leaned on her fellow dispatchers as well as onto her own skills. She knows that the next call is another chance to help someone.
She found herself channeling her maternal instincts during a call from a 17-year-old who reported that he ran into a parked car.
“Accidents happen,” she said, adding that help was en route. Barber determined that a third vehicle was also involved, but there were no injury reports.
Another call Barber answered was from a mother whose 6-year-old son was having trouble breathing. An ambulance was immediately dispatched.
In a firm voice, the dispatcher got the distraught mother to focus and guided her through CPR chest compressions until medical help arrived. The boy soon began breathing on his own and talking.
“I don’t know what happened,” the caller said. “He just completely lost it.”
The child was transported to the hospital with his mother. He was expected to make a full recovery.
Chagrin Valley dispatchers also helped a motorcyclist who hit a curb and flipped off his bike.
“He’s moving right now. He’s waking up,” a caller said. “I think he got knocked out.”
Dispatchers urged the caller to keep the victim still in order to not risk further injury. The motorcyclist was then taken to a trauma center hospital and survived. He was expected to make a full recovery.
Another caller reported that he had been shot in the neck. When dispatchers asked for his address, he said that he was driving himself to the hospital.
The risks of driving while injured with a gunshot are high and include passing out and getting into an accident. Dispatchers urged him to stop his call so that help could come to him.
The victim did so and was transported to the hospital by air ambulance in stable condition. The case remains open.