Some people argue that because 911 dispatchers don’t witness trauma first-hand, they are not vulnerable to stress as a result. This could not be farther from the truth. Dispatchers often handle hundreds of life and death situations simultaneously, each with potential to trigger stress in the individual. With over 240 million calls made to 911 in the United States each year, that equals 240 million chances to overwhelm the dispatcher who is answering them. For this reason, dispatcher stress training is necessary.
What Do Dispatchers Do?
Just in case you weren’t aware, dispatchers are the steadfast individuals who answer our emergency phone calls. They are responsible for sending the appropriate first responders to the scene of a crime, fire, or emergency. This places an immense weight on dispatchers, as their diligence and accuracy can make all the difference when it comes to life and death.
It doesn’t get much more stressful than that. Dispatchers may hear hundreds of traumatic experiences every day, yet it only takes one to get under their skin and trigger them. Regardless of the stress they feel bubbling up to the surface, they have no choice but to carry on calmly.
PTSD and Trauma
Without proper dispatcher stress training, individuals are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. They may hear horrified screams or guttural cries, and feel an overwhelming sense of panic on every call. Although not physically at the scene of the emergency, each situation may haunt dispatchers for years to come.
As a result, emergency dispatchers may suffer vicarious trauma. Constant secondary exposure to trauma takes a toll on an individual, especially if they have been working as a dispatcher for a considerable time. Cumulative stress from emotionally charged calls can ultimately affect their job performance, relationships, and mental health.
Dispatcher Stress Training Methods
Many dispatchers practice myriad methods to keep their stress in line and avoid burnout. If you’re feeling symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, detachment, or hopelessness as a direct result of your career, you are experiencing burnout and need to start reversing the effects.
Dispatchers may try practicing meditation. Setting aside time to contemplate, absorb the sound of white noise, and space out away from stress has proven to give dispatchers a much needed place for obtaining perspective on their experiences.
Whether it’s a bike ride, a few laps in the pool, or lifting weights, exercise is key to strengthening your body and mind. Pushing your body to its physical limits can do wonders in facing difficult experiences, emotions, and thoughts.
Yoga for Dispatchers
Yoga may be the most effective dispatcher stress training tool of all. The artform of yoga represents a combination of meditation and exercise that puts your body and mind to work. It can be used to effectively process the daily stress of dispatchers, build their resilience, and even improve their performance.
You may be wondering: “Will any old yoga routine successfully relieve my stress as a dispatcher?”
For optimal results, we recommend practicing yoga that is culturally informed and job specific. Thankfully, Yoga for First Responders provides just that.
Start Managing Your Stress Today
At Yoga for First Responders, we have developed a field-tested and evidence backed approach to yoga that has proven to successfully process stress, build resilience, and enhance performance. Our instructors have extended their yoga protocol to over 150 departments in 35 states, providing over 12,000 dispatchers and first responders with the stress training they need.
What are you waiting for? Make the call to start managing your stress today with Yoga for First Responders.