Today is the last day of National Public Safety Telecommunications week. I had originally wanted to post about this on Monday...
But something caught me off guard, being that I work as an emergency dispatcher, I follow many feeds online for Police/Fire/EMS and when I saw a post come through about a bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I thought, no way... that can't be true!
The last time I felt that way, was September 11th.
And just like then, this too would turn out to be no joke.
Thursday and Friday I was attending classes at the NH Fire Academy. As I was getting ready Friday morning, I had the news on to hear about the shootout and the officials placing Watertown, MA and surrounding communities on lock down. Driving up to the Fire Academy, there were signs on the highway, saying to avoid Boston area, check media.
All through the class, I kept my phone on and checked periodically at breaks for updates, hoping that they would find the suspect and this chapter would be over. But they wouldn't find the suspect until Friday evening, Ben and I were glued to the news broadcast. I was hoping that no other lives would be lost to this tragedy.
Well the subject has been apprehended, and I think Boston and most of New England breathed a sigh of relief. I had several friends in the lockdown area (as well as several who participated in the Boston Marathon) and I was so thankful that none of my friends were impacted (at least physically).
On top of all this, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas caught fire and exploded, decimating neighborhoods, and killing several people, mostly first responders.
A week were we are supposed to acknowledge dispatchers/call takers/telecommunicators for all the hard work they do, is marred by several tragedies.
I don't do this job for the recognition, I do this job, because I wanted to help people. This profession is not for all, it takes someone with the right mix.
I am thankful for the first responders who worked quickly to identify and apprehend the suspects. I can only imagine how stressful and tense those situations must have been. I mourn for the loss of the innocents, and the MIT police officer. May they rest in peace knowing that the first responders worked diligently to get the job done.
We are Boston Strong.
I would also like to take a moment to say thank you to my dispatcher friends for the jobs that you do. It's not easy work, you don't get paid nearly enough for the amount of stuff (crap) you have to deal with, but you do make a difference, and know that no matter what, you are the calm voice in the dark.