#IAM911 movement changing perspective of dispatchers

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA-TV) They are there for fatal accidents, murders, suicides and many other terrible call - they are 9-1-1 dispatchers.

"I helped give delivery instructions to a woman that was having a baby. And, seven weeks later I gave CPR instructions to the same baby because the baby passed away. That one was like it hit home. I'll never forget it," Nikole Miller, a Pennington County Dispatcher, said.

It's personal stories like these that show what it takes to be a dispatcher.

"It takes a special type of person to do this. Our hiring process is pretty thorough. One in a hundred people can do this. That's our national average," Leslie Janzen, Pennington County Dispatch trainer, said.

Even though dispatchers aren't the ones who drive a firetruck, or rush into a burning building they are more than just an emergency number to call.

"We do so much more than just answer phones. We dispatch the officers we do CPR, we deliver babies, we save lives," Kelly Smith, Pennington County Dispatch Shift supervisor, said.

This passion to save lives is what fueled the movement #IAM911- nationwide social media effort, started by Ricardo Martinez, a 9-1-1 supervisor in Michigan.

Since the hashtag started dispatchers are coming forward sharing their personal stories, some are lighthearted others heart wrenching.

"I'd been here about three or four years and we had a rash of SIDS deaths- and a span of five days i took seven, and that kind of weighs on you a little bit. And you have a hard time dealing with that, and you gotta figure out how to deal with it," Smith said.

And it's the #IAM911 movement that enlightens outsiders about a dispatcher's job.

"But, right after those calls you have to answer the next call. You don't get to leave and take a break," Smith said. "And, those kind of stay with you."

Pennington County dispatchers can't officially comment if they are for ,or against the movement, but they say it's important the public knows they do much more than just desk jobs.