New Hampshire Bureau of Communications EMD Joyce Jastrem was honored as the Dispatcher of the Year at the Navigator 2012 conference held April 18–20 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Md.
While the award is based on several factors, including compliance to the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) emergency dispatch protocol system, it’s the audio of the call submitted as part her nomination that captured the judges’ and audience’s attention.
Jastrem stayed on the line for 10 minutes and 22 seconds giving compressions-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructions to Lynn Shull to revive Barnstead, N.H., cardiac arrest victim Jim Riley. Shull and Riley were repairing a roof in a nearby rural town on a seasonal 30-degree day on Dec. 1, 2011, when Riley collapsed and stopped breathing. Shull pumped for several minutes, relinquishing the lifesaving support to two passers-by who stopped to give aid.
Ten minutes into the call, fire rescue crews arriving on scene defibrillated Riley and began transport to a local hospital. He was later airlifted to Dartmouth Medical Center in Hanover, N.H. One week later, Riley was home recuperating from surgery to implant a stent into a blocked artery.
Jastrem is one of the first dispatchers hired and certified when the state’s single centralized PSAP started taking 9-1-1 calls in 1995. Of all the thousands of calls she’s taken over the years, Riley is the first person she has met from any of them and to top that off, this call represents the first award she’s received for the thousands of hours spent behind a CAD or radio.
“You really never expect anything like this,” Jastrem said of the award. “To me, it was a typical call.”
Riley never thought he’d see the day he’d get teary-eyed on stage, let alone be in front of an audience numbering close to 1,200 people. But, then again, he didn’t anticipate his friend, two good Samaritans, and an EMD working together to save his life.
“I’m not real good at public speaking,” Riley said, wiping away tears on stage at the Navigator conference. “But I’m getting much better at public crying.”
The annual Navigator conference draws more than 1,200 people from the emergency communications profession. This year’s Navigator was held in Baltimore, Md. The NAED is a non-profit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide.