When tragedy strikes, emergency dispatchers are the people who answer our calls for help.
“We get a lot of intoxicated calls obviously, accidents, deaths. We get everything,” said Candace Volman, who has been working at the RCMP call centre for four years.
Over the last six years, call volumes have increased about 37 per cent.
“Everybody has a cell phone so that’s increased our workload, and they’re more aware of 911,” said Angela Prettyshield, an instructor at the RCMP call centre.
Story continues below
Volman manages up to 75 officers a shift – one of whom, is her brother.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking because sometimes the calls are pretty serious. But I know he’s a good officer,” said Volman.
For those on the front lines, dispatchers are their lifeline.
“Well these people, we trust them pretty much with our lives. We are the ones going to the stressful situations, sometimes life and death situations,” said RCMP Sgt. Craig Clearly.
But the job of a call-taker isn’t easy either – it can be emotionally taxing on the receiving end of the line.
“There are a lot of calls with young kids and stuff that can really get to you, but it’s part of the job. And we’re helping,” said Volman.
So there is support and resources for those who need it.
“We also have programs in place, employee assistance programs. We also have a Chaplin in the building, so if we need to go and talk to somebody we have a floor psychologist available as well,” said Prettyshield.