A MOST LIBERATING SOUND
March 20, 2015
By Audrey Fraizer
EMD Jennifer Davis didn’t expect every call to have a silver lining but, at the same time, she has found the brighter side that comes with the 9-1-1 profession.
Two prime examples occurred two months apart.
The first call, on May 14, 2014, came from a distraught mother whose one-year-old toddler would not respond to her following a fall into a rural pond near their home. He was unconscious and not breathing.
“My stomach dropped,” said Davis, a Winnebago County (Wis.) Communications Center dispatcher. “No one likes to receive calls like this, especially one involving a child.”
Davis quickly put her emotions aside and concentrated on helping the mother bring back her son’s breathing, but first, there was another matter at hand.
“Mom was hysterical,” Davis said. “I told her to focus on what she needed to do for a good outcome.”
For the next six minutes, Davis provided CPR instructions, using the medical ProQA software. Prior to the arrival of any first responder or public safety unit, and after several cycles of rescue breathing and chest compressions, counting out loud over the phone to keep the pace, Davis heard a most liberating sound.
“The child was trying to start crying,” Davis said. “A lot had happened in a little amount of time and the outcome was great.”
The arriving paramedics stabilized the boy and transported him to the hospital. He had survived.
The second call on Aug. 4, 2014, came from a fitness center. A man training for a bicycle race had experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, and a nurse on scene was performing CPR, leaving Davis to coordinate response.
Again, she remained calm throughout the situation, providing updates and assuring the caller that help was on the way.
Davis’ poise and ability to put callers at ease are an asset to the agency, said Mark Habeck, Captain at Winnebago County Sheriff's Office where he oversees all 9-1-1 communication center operations.
“Jen’s able to maintain her composure and calm the caller,” he said. “Her actions directly resulted in saving the child’s life.”
Davis, of course, takes it all in stride. It’s her job; it’s what she’s paid to do. Anybody else in the center would have done the same thing. And, yes, she does put “helping people” at the top of her list of reasons she loves the job.
But never in a million years did she think emergency communications would be her niche, her career of choice by default of answering a classified ad.
“Now, I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” said Davis, who started at the center four years ago with a background in customer service. “I can’t say enough about the good we do and the great support network here.”
And the good outcomes?
“They recharge my batteries,” she said. “It’s a great thing to be able to do.”
Habeck nominated Davis for Winnebago County’s 2014 Life Saving Award, which will be announced in 2015.
The sheriff’s office operates the 9-1-1 communication center for all of Winnebago County. There are 31 dispatchers and one lieutenant at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) handling all law, fire, and emergency medical services for nine law enforcement agencies, 14 fire departments, one ambulance service, and 12 first responder groups.
According to the Winnebago County annual report (2013), Winnebago County Communications Center handled 43,809 9-1-1 calls, or about 120 calls each day.