The primary job of an emergency dispatcher is to quickly and efficiently direct responders to the scene of a crisis. Alongside this, many dispatchers stay on the line to help keep callers calm until a responder is able to arrive and properly assess the situation. However, in all emergencies, time is of the essence, and a dispatcher may have to go to extraordinary measures to help solve problems as quickly as possible.
In August, Naomi Dale, a 911 dispatcher in Santa Clara, California, did just that. She received a call from Jeannie Fitzgerald. Her 65-year-old husband Bill had collapsed. Dale quickly assessed that Mr. Fitzgerald was in the middle of a heart attack. She quickly notified paramedics, but stayed on the line to provide some additional assistance.
Mr. Fitzgerald stopped breathing, and he might never have started again if it were not for Naomi Dale. She calmly walked Mrs. Fitzgerald through the basic steps of CPR. Mrs. Fitzgerald was then able to start pumping, keeping her husband’s heart active long enough for paramedics to arrive and stabilize him.
The Fitzgeralds were extremely thankful to Dale, insisting that they meet the woman that saved Mr. Fitzgerald’s life. He spent a week in the hospital, and after his release, they were able to meet and properly thank Naomi Dale.
Dale was thankful to have that connection. She has been a dispatcher for countless emergencies over 25 years, but being able to actually meet some of the lives she helped to save was a touching experience.
“It’s what I do,” said Dale. “I like helping people. I like being a positive influence.” Dale also said she believes that the attention she has received should be turned on her fellow emergency responders. Law enforcement is not always seen in the most positive light, but it is important to remember that protecting the lives of the people in their community is at the center of what people like Dale do.