“I’m on the phone!”
Never has that phrase been more important than when you’re taking a 911 call where your every bit of attention needs to be to the caller on the other end of the phone. You’re responsible for asking questions, gathering information on the emergency as well as dispatching fire, police or an ambulance. Heck, that’s a lot of pressure! Not to mention, you’re also being recorded on the line.
What are your options to minimize disruption?
Option 1 - You can ditch the headset and go back to the 90’s holding the phone up to your ear so it’s obvious that you’re “ON the phone!”. But, you like the headset, it's comfortable, it's easier to hear the caller and you have both hands free to do all the 911 magic we know you do behind the scenes.
Option 2 - You can turn around and snarl at the person who is talking, or just contort your face in a way that they know they’ve seriously interrupted. This makes for great interpersonal relationships around the office. (insert sarcasm)
Option 3 - You could have a pre-printed sign that you hold up and frantically point to while trying to listen, type and multitask. Oh, sure…let’s just add one more thing to the mix, not to mention you’ll look like you’re playing charades.
A Disruption Solution
A simple light with an on/off switch, also called a “boat light” or “status indicator” light can be added to your workstation. This gives others visibility into your current status, whether you’re on the phone, need a supervisor or just need a restroom break. These lights can have multiple colors and can flash, or steady depending on what the users’ status is.
The most common use is to connect the phone system at the user’s workstation so that when the user picks up the phone, the light shines a solid or flashing red indicating to others that they are unavailable and on a call. This simple visibility prevents errors and keeps users focused on what’s important.
Another option is to connect the light through a button, usually within the climate control system, where the user can turn on or off the light with a simple push. This allows for control of the light for other notifications. In larger centers it can be used as a signal for a supervisor, or possibly a life-threatening emergency call, or maybe even just a bathroom break request.
Prevent mistakes, interruptions and more with a light that can tell others your status. Seems simple right? In an environment such as 911 dispatch public safety, having insight into the status of another person can be vital. Consider adding this option for your own sanity as well as for the coworkers around you.