Mike Rigert

Mike Rigert


By Mike Rigert

The Journal of Emergency Dispatch spoke with several people working in the emergency communications field about challenges unique to the profession that they’ve had to overcome to be successful. The following are their responses in their words:

Kyle Sneesby | 44

Operations Manager

Medical Transportation Communications Centre (MTCC)

Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Certifications: EMD, EMD-Q

Yrs. in emergency dispatch: 7½

Yrs. in current position: 7 ½

One challenge has been our constant growth and change. As a brand new organization in 2006, we spent six years implementing all of our different phases of operations, adding personnel at each stage. The best solution to this constant challenge has been surrounding myself with the right people. We have built a talented and dedicated team at MTCC. I am very proud every time I give them a new challenge and they exceed my expectations.

Another challenge has been finding the right people to put on our team. Rather than falling into the trap of only adding people who come with all of the skills and certifications, we look for good people who will be a good fit for the job and organization. We then help them to achieve all of the certifications and learn all of the skills.

Tammy Jewell | 43

QI/Training Officer

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Certifications: Emergency Telecommunicator, EMD and EFD-Qinstructor, EMD, EFD, and National Q member

Yrs. in emergency emergency services: 13

Yrs. in current position: 6

One of the challenges that communicators face is the ability to have a work/life balance. At the time of my hiring I had a young child at home and shift work did not always enable me to get the rest that I needed to be effective and efficient at my job. I had to come up with a solution to ensure that I was getting the rest that I needed to perform at an optimum level.

It is also really important to have supports in place such as family and friends that understand the shift work that a communicator performs. There will be times where you will miss those Sunday family dinners or gatherings, and you may need to sleep during a warm summer day when everyone else is at the beach. Preparing your family is just as important as preparing yourself for this career.

Laura Lee Cody | 44

Senior Communications Officer

Richmond Ambulance Authority

Richmond, Va., USA

Certifications: EMD, Paramedic

Yrs. in emergency dispatch: 8

Yrs. in current position: 5

One of the most important things for me in dispatch has been developing a separation from work. Sometimes you find that the job takes over your life when you spend time with co-workers outside of the call center. I am friends with the people I work with, but choosing friendships with people outside of the comm. center gives me a different perspective and helps me to relax when I’m not at work.

Another challenge is the lack of movement. When you work 12-hour shifts in a chair, it is exhausting. I schedule times to exercise and make my health a priority. The healthier you stay physically, the longer you can do the job mentally. I schedule a specific time to run each day.