When in trouble, call “91”

For a number of years I worked as a 911 call taker and dispatcher. It was shift work, and through the years I worked all sorts of different hours—days, nights, weekends, and holidays. I learned to be very flexible, but one thing I tried hard to do consistently was to begin each shift mentally and spiritually prepared, because I never knew what might transpire during the course of my hours at the phone and dispatch radio. 

Some shifts had nonstop action, demanding much concentration and alertness. The job required a fair amount of training, and the most fundamental instruction I received at the very beginning of my career was the most important to remember every day. It involved learning to ask the right questions, and listening carefully to get the needed answers. These questions are commonly referred to as the five W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. 

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