BOUDLER, Colo. (KDVR) — Emotions are still running high after several Colorado schools were placed on lockdown because of hoax threats on Wednesday.
Dispatchers across the state were the first to hear these calls.
The threat at Boulder High School came through the University of Colorado Boulder non-emergency dispatch, according to Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold. The CU non-emergency dispatch is separate from the City of Boulder Dispatch Center, reached by calling 911.
911 dispatchers work together to help callers
Courtney Simmer, a dispatch supervisor with the City of Boulder, was not on the specific call, but she said they deal with high-stress situations every day.
“In the moment when you’re taking the calls, it doesn’t bother you,” Simmer said. “You’re focused on working.”
Simmer said they can answer between 80 to 100 calls depending on the day and shift.
Dispatchers go through an extensive training program that Simmer said lasts about a year, learning how to answer calls and handle stress.
“Usually the first 10 to 12 weeks is where you’re going to learn how to handle the stressful stuff,” Simmer said.
When the time comes, it’s all hands on deck.
“It really just starts out as one person getting the information, but then together, we’re all working together. We’re all completing tasks. We all trust each other to do what they’re supposed to do and when it’s over we say, ‘Good work, everyone,’” Simmer said.
Dealing with the stress of taking 911 emergencies
With a good support system and short memory, Simmer said they all have their own ways of handling stress.
“If you asked me what calls I took yesterday, I probably wouldn’t remember because that’s how we deal with it,” Simmer said. “We can’t think about it and we can’t hold onto it forever.”
But she said they do remember the good.
“Last month I helped a baby who was drowning in the bathtub and the baby survived, so that brings me back, because I can help people like that,” Simmer said.
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