Tuesday 4:00 PM 9-1-1 Chaplains: Tending To The Soul of the Dispatcher

Program Objectives

9-1-1 Chaplains: Tending to the Soul of the Dispatcher    
1) To provide validation and acknowledgment to dispatchers for the unique and demanding nature of their work, emphasizing the importance of self-care and seeking support for their mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being 
2) To empower dispatchers and supervisors with practical strategies and resources for managing the stress and emotional toll inherent in their roles, including the utilization of chaplaincy services, peer support networks, and self-care practices. 
3) To foster a culture of support and awareness within 9-1-1 dispatch centers, encouraging open dialogue between supervisors and dispatchers about the challenges they face, and promoting the implementation of chaplaincy programs and other resources to provide ongoing care and support to dispatchers in their crucial roles.    

Program Description

This session examines the vital role of 9-1-1 dispatchers in emergency response and highlights the ongoing struggle for their recognition as first responders. The focus is on the need for dedicated chaplaincy services specifically tailored to support the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of 9-1-1 dispatchers. While their counterparts in police and fire departments often benefit from established chaplaincy programs, dispatchers have been overlooked in this aspect. Operating behind the scenes, dispatchers often work in high-pressure environments, handling life-or-death situations without the benefit of immediate support. These professionals play a critical role in emergency response, serving as the first point of contact and providing crucial guidance and support to callers and first responders. Despite these responsibilities, dispatchers frequently face barriers to being recognized as first responders. Given the immense pressures and traumatic experiences inherent in their work, there is a growing recognition of the need for chaplaincy services specifically designed to address the spiritual and emotional well-being of 9-1-1 dispatchers. Such services can provide a support network, offering guidance, counseling, and debriefing sessions to help dispatchers cope with the toll their job can take on their mental health. This session advocates for the establishment of dedicated 9-1-1 chaplaincy programs that recognize the unique needs and challenges of dispatchers. By drawing attention to the existing chaplaincy programs in police and fire departments, it emphasizes the necessity of extending similar support to the often overshadowed and underappreciated role of 9-1-1 dispatchers. By tending to the souls of these invaluable professionals, we can enhance their well-being and resilience, ultimately improving the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency response systems as a whole.    

Presenter Bio

Brandi Powell is a highly experienced professional with a unique blend of expertise in emergency dispatch and ministerial care. With over 15 years of dispatch experience, Brandi has firsthand knowledge of the demands and challenges faced by 9-1-1 dispatchers. Having worked in various emergency response centers, she understands the critical role these unsung heroes play in ensuring public safety. In addition to her extensive dispatch background, Brandi also possesses 11 years of ministerial experience, bringing a deep understanding of the spiritual and emotional needs that underpin human experiences. Her compassionate nature and dedication to serving others led her to pursue training as a certified Christian grief coach, sharpening her ability to provide guidance and support to those experiencing loss and trauma. With an unwavering commitment to dispatchers and their fight to be classified as first responders, Brandi Powell endeavors to create spaces for open dialogue, championing the implementation of chaplaincy programs and other resources that can provide the necessary support system to nurture the souls of these dedicated professionals.