“I need an ambulance.” “Why?” “There’s a toilet roll holder in my butt.”
We don’t like being called “phone operators”.
Or call centre workers, for that matter. Sure, we wear a headset and take calls, but we're saving lives, not doing a standard 9-to-5.
Our best calls are the ones where we help someone bring a baby into the world.
We call these sort of calls “BBA”: born before arrival, and it involves talking someone, usually the father, through the process of delivering the baby. You never forget the parents you help, or the joy of hearing a baby’s first cry.
And our worst calls are the ones where a baby or child has stopped breathing.
Yes, we're trained to seem cool and collected, but our heart is always racing while explaining to panicked parents how to do CPR on their own kid. Thankfully, many of these calls have good outcomes, but some don't, and that's very hard.
People do die while they’re on the phone to us, and it never gets any easier to deal with.
You just have to stay calm, try not to agonise about the situation afterwards, or spend hours turning it over in your head and asking yourself whether you could have done something differently and saved the person's life. It won't help.
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