Unwinding from stress

Published 9:05 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

Last week was National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, check back each day as we highlight the work these dispatchers do.  

BROOKHAVEN — Emergency services and dispatch can exact a mental toll. Dispatcher Sara Beth Reeves said the advice she got from senior dispatchers was to not take it home with her. She has found it better to take it home and share with her partner. 

“I have a partner who helps me get through it. Some people keep it bottled in but I have an amazing partner who helps me through it,” Reeves said. “Amber Whittington helped me through the first seven years here when I worked nights. You also learn to deal with things.” 

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Dispatcher Peyton Myers said some days are simply harder days than others. Unless something really bad happens and ruins the weekend, she tries to keep going with the flow. She added everyone has to come back to work eventually. 

“You have to come back for your own family or because we love it. I couldn’t do it without my co-workers,” Myers said.

Myers has adjusted to the job pretty easily. She started with Lincoln County E911 in October but served in dispatch for six years in the Army and worked three years in Louisiana. 

One thing the general public may not know about dispatchers is they are not always able to see what happens with the call despite being connected to the call from start to finish. 

“It is personal. You can care about their wellbeing,” Reeves said. 

Myers agreed. 

“We still think about them. ‘I hope everything turned out okay,’ she said. 

The dispatchers said they have a strong support system at E911 too. Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid and Dispatch Supervisor Vicki Magee are there for them. 

“Chris Reid and Vicki take care of us and they help us when we are swamped. They are amazing bosses,” Reeves said. 

Dispatcher Alanna Smith shared similar sentiments. 

“Chris will pick up lunch for us some days and take over dispatching o give us a mental break,” Smith said.