If you’re a 911 dispatcher, you’ve probably experienced at least one, if not ALL, of the following:
- “HA! Did you see what happened on Jerry Springer!?” or “WHO’S YOUR DADDY?” (meaning loud noises and someone shouting )
- “HEY! HEY!” followed by “WHAT?!” (shouting across the room)
- “HAHAHAHA! Did you hear the one about the sock?” (terrible jokes and more loud noises)
- “WHIP! Do the Nae-Nae!” (spontaneous dancing in the dispatch center with the bass thumpin’)
Anyone who works in a dispatch comm center is used to the loud noises, the yelling across the room, the discussions on the TMZ shocker about another Kardashian who did something idiotic, or the boss who walks up behind you holding an entire conversation without realizing you’re on the phone. Yeah, we’ve all been there in some way, shape, or form, and while distractions are inevitable in the workplace, in a dispatch center, those distractions can become detrimental. In worse case scenarios, they can create a bad public perception.
Fortunately, there is a solution! Status indicator lights can be a great way to cut down on distractions, and by distractions, I mean the yelling and those knock-knock jokes only my 5-year-old nephew should be telling.
Here are a few specific examples of when and how these lights can help out:
Instances When People Walk Up Behind You– “Hey Susan, did you get that text I sent you about the duck that walked into a bar? Oh man! Wasn’t that hilarious?” This has definitely happened to the best of us, and we’ve all probably been guilty of it at one point or another. Fortunately, status indicator lights offer a solution to stop the madness! Notification lights can easily tie into a phone and/or radio system, depending on preference. This will require a conversation with your respective vendors so that you can ask about connectivity options, but each light should provide a “punch block” type system that will allow you to connect whatever color of the rainbow you want to whichever system you want. For example, let’s say you tie the red light to your 911 line, so when a call comes in, the light immediately goes from green (available) to red (on a call), indicating that you should save that duck joke for later.
Supervisor Visibility – We get this a lot from customers; supervisors or directors have a hard time telling who is on, who is off, who is taking the majority of the calls, and who may be sitting back and relaxing too often. Status indicator lights give supervisors the ability to analyze call volume as well as get an overall view of the room to see what’s happening. With some systems, like the Xybix MyClimate hand control, you have the ability to hit a button tied to the indicator light that allows for supervisors to see who may need assistance on a call or an indication that backup is needed. Depending on the SOPs of your PSAP, this could be a great tool to help you review dispatcher performance as well as determine where more training may be needed.
Accountability and Major Events – Directors and supervisors alike can utilize this tool to evaluate dispatcher performance and offer possible compensation incentives. Have someone not pulling their weight? You can easily take the temperature of who is picking up the majority of the calls by evaluating the room at different intervals during a shift. Have a blast of 911 calls coming in? Take a gauge of how that event was handled and track successful calls and management!
Many indicator lights come in various shapes and sizes, so talk to your dispatch furniture supplier about what you’re looking to do and ask for recommendations on possible solutions for problems you may be facing. It's best to plan ahead, so make sure you ask about status indicator lights in the initial phase of planning for a new comm center.