Air Ambulance Dispatcher
Devon Air Ambulance
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My name’s Chloe, and I’m one of the HEMS dispatchers
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for the South Western Ambulance Service. HEMS stands for helicopter
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emergency medical services, and we’re responsible for dispatching
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all of the air ambulance and critical care resources for the southwest of England.
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Our job involves listening in to 999 calls taken by a call handler
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in the control room, and we’re able to view all the details
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of these incidents and also listen in to live 999 calls.
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This helps us to make a decision whether or not to deploy an air ambulance
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or one of our critical care resources. The type of instance we would be looking
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to dispatch to are people who are not breathing, who’ve had serious trauma.
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This can be things like a road traffic collision, a fall from a height or an amputation
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We’ll also be looking to send to people who are seriously medically unwell.
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This could be people having a heart attack in a remote location,
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someone with serious breathing difficulties or fitting.
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When I was younger, I wanted to be a primary school teacher,
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so I left high school with my eleven GCSEs, went to college and did a BTEC
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National Diploma in child development. At the end of those two years
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I decided I no longer wanted to train to be a primary school teacher,
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and I was working full time in retail and quickly
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worked my way to a managerial role.
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I stayed doing this for seven years
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and decided then I needed a new challenge.
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I went off to work for a bank for a year
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and soon discovered that that was a big mistake.
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I wanted to do something that I felt like I was helping people.
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And also, I wanted to buy my first house, so I needed something where I could work
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and possibly do overtime to save money, to buy my first house.
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So I applied for a job at the ambulance service
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as a call handler and started four weeks later.
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I worked as a call handler for about twelve months,
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and in that time I saw lots of different roles.
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And one that caught my eye was the HEMS dispatcher role.
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I managed to organize an observational shift on the HEMS desk
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and quickly learned it was a very specialist role
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and loved how they worked very closely with all of the air ambulance charities.
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I got to see that they help the poorliest patients
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and made such a difference to their outcomes
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and knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
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Shortly after this, the opportunity came up to apply for a position on the HEMS desk as a HEMS dispatcher.
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So I applied and got offered a position
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that was seven years ago.
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Our job can be quite unpredictable, no two days are the same.
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And at times can be extremely busy.
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This will require us to dispatch multiple critical care resources at any one time,
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so we need to
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stay calm under pressure and have good organization
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and communication skills with our other colleagues on the HEMS desk.
Chloe is a helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) dispatcher – she listens to live 999 calls in the control room and decides whether to send an air ambulance or other critical care resources. After a BTEC in child development, she worked in retail for seven years, before leaving to work for a bank, a move she describes as ‘a big mistake’. Motivated by the idea of helping people and the prospect of overtime, she applied for job as a call handler with the ambulance service, before securing her current role.
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More information about Call and contact centre occupations
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Answers incoming telephone calls from existing or prospective customers;
- Interviews caller to establish the nature of any complaint or the requirements of the client;
- Informs existing and potential customers on any immediate action to be taken, and refers the matter to a more senior member of staff if necessary;
- Advises on services available and sells additional products or services;
- Maintains details of calls received, the action taken as a result of a call and updates customer database as required;
- Arranges for field staff to visit the caller if further assistance is required.
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