The remark about getting to know your dispatcher is excellent as we have better communication with the crews. I know for my part everybody from members of the type 1 and type 2 teams to just our forest crew that goes out on assignment try to keep me informed of their whereabouts. They know if there is any emergency or I need to get a hold of them so they can get their time in on time, I can, and everybody from wives to girlfriends and boyfriends and parents have all my numbers from my home number to my personal cell. I do this because I would hope it would be done or me if I needed to get a hold of either my children or my FF.
Just recently I was visiting my FF when he came out west to fight fires when my cell phone rang at three in the morning. It was a girlfriend that was very nervous about her boyfriend and just had to call to ask if I had heard from the crew. As a matter of fact the crewboss had called me that evening and told me they were spiked and it would be miss or hit to contact them. When I reassured her that he was okay she felt so much better. My FF however didn’t. He teases me that he has 30 guys to compete with for my attention but he knows my heart belongs to him. He also informed me that my phone was to be turned off at night since we hadn’t seen each other in 6 months and we have to take advantage of anytime we get together.
I was getting ready to go see him in Oregon today but he got transferred to the Dakotas so it’s closer for me so I am probably headed that way today. This will be the last trip out for him until he comes to see me in October. My assignment to Region 1 got canceled so I’m going to go enjoy him for a couple of days before he goes back to his home.
Most dispatchers never complain if you call and ask them about your loved ones so never feel bad if you are worried or just lonely. I know as a dispatcher I sometimes worry about my FF (from a different region) and my child (on a different forest) and I call dispatch to get peace of mind. I hope you all get to see your loved ones soon.
Not many dispatch centers have time to deal with anxious family members, especially in the fever of fires going gunneysack. Please call your firefighter’s home unit first — the emergency number they left you — before calling dispatch.