Date of Conferral
The Emergency number 9-1-1 is the most widely known and used telephone number in the United States and Canada, yet turnover, understaffing, and low retention of staff are national concerns in 9-1-1 emergency telecommunication centers. Emergency (9-1-1) telecommunicators are often the “first” first responder in the emergency cycle and are responsible for the collection and dissemination of emergency information to police, fire, and medical units. Resilience theory was utilized to see how some individuals adjust, adapt, and assimilate with presenting environmental stressors and/or conditions. This study of female emergency telecommunicators in a Southern Combined Emergency Dispatch Center explored the stressors and coping strategies from the individual’s perspective. Data were collected using qualitative interviews and focus groups within a Florida Combined Communications Center. This approach was useful in gaining individual perceptions of work stressors and coping strategies of female 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators. Content analysis was used to code and analyze emergent themes from the interviews and focus groups. Key findings were female 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators experience stressors similar to other emergency service personnel with additional stressors present to include processing calls for service with verbal indication only, not knowing the closure of calls, and continual public scrutiny. As 9-1-1 emergency centers nationwide face high turnover and low retention, this study contributes to social change by providing insights into stressors faced by female responders and ways they cope with these stressors to reduce job turnover.