911 Operator Burnout

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911 operators are there for us when we need them most, but sometimes the stress of the job can affect their work. Their work day is 12 hours long, and they stay by the phone always ready for any kind of emergency.

Thomas County 911 dispatch answers calls for five agencies and they are trained to take difficult calls and work fast, but they say it's not always the nature of the call that's stressful.

Dispatch officer Tonda Tucker says, "If you have a big incident going on, what can be really stressful is picking up a 911 and having somebody ask you what time it is."

Something as simple as a prank call can raise a dispatcher's stress level, causing them to send out emergency vehicles that aren't even needed.

Captain Whitney Hopkins, the training officer for the Thomas County 911 Dispatch, says, "We treat every call, if it's a hang up, a child calling, we send a unit out there to check on them, especially if it's a child."

To help keep dispatchers ready for work everyday, Thomas County does provide mandatory counseling, especially after a major incident.

The county also encourages proper eating and plenty of exercise. Thomas County provides a "fit challenge," believing exercise is key to keeping dispatchers happy and feeling great so they can perform their best at work.