Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dispatch Crafting

Odd subject on my mind today.

I am a crafter.  Give me needle and thread and fabric and I am entertained for hours.

At my last agency, even though we were very large and very very busy, many of us sat at our telephone consoles (not while we were on radio) and worked on various crafts, short of using a sewing machine for a couple.

It was an accepted method for stress relief.

But at my current small agency.... well.... not so much.

On the graveyard shift you can go a whole hour (have even gone two) without a single radio transmission or phone call.  On a Sunday it is the same pace.  And yet....

Reading a book, okay.

Working on personal business, seems okay.

But pull out some fabric and thread and it is armageddon.

I understand during business hours, or even if the brass is in the station, that the activity would be considered a no-no.  BUT.....

I know a certain senior officer who has told me they consider the activity an insult and would like to craft policy against the activity in dispatch, but as I am the only crafter, it would clearly be directed at me and thus open up the possibility of, well, more **it than worth the issue.  At this time.

My former agency only had the policy of no crafting of any sort while working radio.  They also had issues with reading of any kind except the policy manual.  But off radio, as long as you weren't stinking up the place or making too much noise, all was acceptable.

How does your agency handle this stress relieving, soul feeding, extracurricular activity?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chairs for Dispatch

In Dispatch where almost every chair is being used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it becomes problematic when the chair starts to fall apart, cushions go flat, they get dirty and quite often pick up a bad smell.

Many of us have been known to bring in cleaning supplies from home to keep the smell away and hopefully make them look a bit better.  In my current department we have someone very handy with tools who can do minor repairs.

As our Dispatch Center is in need of new chairs (they are flat, no longer able to clean up well, but at least they are still rolling along), I decided to take it upon myself to do a little research on chairs and their costs.

HOLY SHIT!  Have a better understanding why the brass doesn't like buying chairs for Dispatch and will do anything to keep them moving.

I was looking for a chair that was ergonomic, adjustable in height and tilt and arms, with really good padding.  In other words, 24 hour butt chairs that could accommodate all the different sizes of the dispatchers.

Many of the suppliers call 24 hour butt chairs 24/7 Heavy Duty chairs.  But the meaning is the same.

One crazy thing my now retired police officer hubby and I have been known to do is visit other LE agencies when traveling.  I love spending time in dispatch and trying to pick up new tricks to make the job easier and smarter.  And I always look at their chairs because almost every agency I have worked for tries to save money in the chairs and we Dispatchers pay the price.

The chair that I have seen in action and would love to get for our Dispatch Center costs over $800!  There are chairs advertised as Call Center Chairs and they start at almost $400 a chair.  I recognize one of them in our center.

One chair found so far admits the all steel frame  has a six year written warranty.  Another chair, similar to what we use right now, has a ten year warranty.  Our current chairs are at least seven years old.  Not quite making the ten years promised.

Okay, new respect for the budget on chairs.  But as we "live" in these chairs 9-15 hours at a time, it would be great if a little more attention was spent in the quality and durability of the chairs utilized in Dispatch.  I've heard how much the chairs for our Lt's cost and they don't live in their chairs the hours we do.

Are quality chairs only for the brass?
What chairs does your agency use?
Are they quality and durable?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Public Information Officer ... the new context

crisis comms command post: Public Information Officer ... the new context: I had the occasion last week to provide some training at the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. CEMA is one of the EM organizations leadin...



This is a great article about information sharing to the public during an active emergency.  For any dispatcher or anyone in the emergency services field, even if not the PIO, take a few minutes to read.