Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat

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9780873516020: Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat
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You answer a call from a fourteen-year-old boy asking for someone to arrest his mother, who is smoking crack in their bathroom. You talk with him until the cops arrive, making sure there are no weapons around and learning that his favorite subject in school is lunch. Five minutes later, you have to deal with someone complaining about his neighbor's clarinet practice.

What is it like to be on the receiving end of desperate calls for help . . . every day? Caroline Burau, a former newspaper reporter and nursing student who couldn't stand the sight of blood, takes a job as an emergency dispatcher because she likes helping people. But on-the-job training at the comm center proves to be more than she bargained for. As she adjusts to a daily life of catastrophe and comedy, domestics and drunks, cops and robbers, junk food and sarcasm, lost cats and suicides, she discovers that crisis can become routine, that coworkers can be mean—that she must continue to care and, at times, learn how to let go.

Praise for Answering 911

"The day may come when I have to dial 911. I hope to God that the person who answers is Caroline Burau or someone like her. Funny, honest, and elegantly simple, this book left me with a sense of grace and hope." —Alison McGhee, author of Shadow Baby, Rainlight, Was It Beautiful? and Falling Boy

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About the Author:

Caroline Burau is a 911 dispatch operator for the police and fire departments in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

From Publishers Weekly:

I want to save lives, but I'm willing to settle for just not killing anybody," confides this suburban Minneapolis author about being a rookie 911 dispatch operator . In simple prose that is often crass and amateurish, Burau recounts moments of terror and incompetence among her colleagues: one dispatcher plays computer games while listening to a suicidal caller ; others send medics to the wrong address while an acid-burn victim suffers. Cynical and bitter after two years on the job, Burau has harsh words for callers who report cell phones stolen from unlocked cars; a "frequent flyer" (someone "always in crisis") who wants the police to baby-sit her kids; and a woman whose grisly trailer-home suicide is relayed by her hysterical 12-year-old daughter. Recalling her abortive attempts as nursing student, reporter for a community paper and locksmith and, in sordid detail, her addiction to crack and an abusive boyfriend, Burau has been in recovery for 11 years and has married and adopted a stepdaughter she adores but worries about failing. Although this clearly isn't her intention, Burau's honest memoir of the 911 trenches will make readers queasy about the quality of emergency service personnel in their own communities. (Aug. 15)
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Book Description Minnesota Historical Society Press,U.S., United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. At a pace matching the flashing lights on a 911 console, Caroline Burau puts us in the hot seat and shows us the madness, the sadness, and the gallows humor of a profession that serves and protects in ways we never dream. And by telling us what goes on when the microphone is silent, she has taken the voice on the radio and given it heart. Michael Perry, author of Population 485 and Truck: A Love Story A witty, gritty look at life on the receiving end of our cries for help. Reader s Digest (Editor s Choice) You answer a call from a fourteen-year-old boy asking for someone to arrest his mother, who is smoking crack in their bathroom. You talk with him until the cops arrive, making sure there are no weapons around and learning that his favorite subject in school is lunch. Five minutes later, you have to deal with someone complaining about his neighbor s clarinet practice. What is it like to be on the receiving end of desperate calls for help . . . every day? Caroline Burau, a former newspaper reporter and nursing student who couldn t stand the sight of blood, takes a job as an emergency dispatcher because she likes helping people. But on-the-job training at the comm center proves to be more than she bargained for. As she adjusts to a daily life of catastrophe and comedy, domestics and drunks, cops and robbers, junk food and sarcasm, lost cats and suicides, she discovers that crisis can become routine, that coworkers can be mean--that she must continue to care and, at times, learn how to let go. The day may come when I have to dial 911. I hope to God that the person who answers is Caroline Burau or someone like her. Funny, honest, and elegantly simple, this book left me with a sense of grace and hope. --Alison McGhee, author of Shadow Baby, Rainlight, Was It Beautiful? and Falling Boy Caroline Burau is a 911 dispatch operator for the police and fire departments in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Seller Inventory # AAS9780873516020

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Book Description Minnesota Historical Society Press,U.S., United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. At a pace matching the flashing lights on a 911 console, Caroline Burau puts us in the hot seat and shows us the madness, the sadness, and the gallows humor of a profession that serves and protects in ways we never dream. And by telling us what goes on when the microphone is silent, she has taken the voice on the radio and given it heart. Michael Perry, author of Population 485 and Truck: A Love Story A witty, gritty look at life on the receiving end of our cries for help. Reader s Digest (Editor s Choice) You answer a call from a fourteen-year-old boy asking for someone to arrest his mother, who is smoking crack in their bathroom. You talk with him until the cops arrive, making sure there are no weapons around and learning that his favorite subject in school is lunch. Five minutes later, you have to deal with someone complaining about his neighbor s clarinet practice. What is it like to be on the receiving end of desperate calls for help . . . every day? Caroline Burau, a former newspaper reporter and nursing student who couldn t stand the sight of blood, takes a job as an emergency dispatcher because she likes helping people. But on-the-job training at the comm center proves to be more than she bargained for. As she adjusts to a daily life of catastrophe and comedy, domestics and drunks, cops and robbers, junk food and sarcasm, lost cats and suicides, she discovers that crisis can become routine, that coworkers can be mean--that she must continue to care and, at times, learn how to let go. The day may come when I have to dial 911. I hope to God that the person who answers is Caroline Burau or someone like her. Funny, honest, and elegantly simple, this book left me with a sense of grace and hope. --Alison McGhee, author of Shadow Baby, Rainlight, Was It Beautiful? and Falling Boy Caroline Burau is a 911 dispatch operator for the police and fire departments in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Seller Inventory # AAS9780873516020

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