The Call - Fall 2013 - (Page 9)

P R E S I DE N T 'S M E S S AG E Don't Overlook the Signs of Stress Bernard "Buster" Brown, ENP NENA President I URGE YOU TO TAKE THE STEPS NECESSARY TO RECOGNIZE, MANAGE, AND REDUCE YOUR STRESS. In our line of work, stress keeps us all employed. Emergency services exist to provide professional assistance to individuals facing what may very well be the most stressful moments of their lives. When you answer that 9-1-1 call from a frantic citizen, you put your training into use to respond professionally and with a clear mind. On one end of the phone the stress may be out of control, but on your end, you know that you must remain in command of the situation. And you do. But it takes a toll. Stressful situations abound during a typical shift in the PSAP. This stress may be all in a day's work, but beware of its effect on your wellbeing on the job and happiness at home. Your awareness and recognition of day-to-day stress is the first step in combating it. It is important to realize that some things are, in fact, out of your control, but the one constant that is always within your power is the ability to make choices that positively impact your mental and physical health. Your attitude is contagious - if you manage your stress well, people around you will benefit, and their outward stress is less likely to impact you. Ignoring stress can lead to physical and emotional problems. Be proactive about your physical wellbeing. Eat wisely, exercise regularly, and see your doctor to keep on top of your health. Don't overlook the signifiers and symptoms of excessive workplace stress. I had to learn the hard way. I am stubborn by nature, and I let stress get the best of me. I ignored the signs and dismissed then as "part of the job" and something I just "had to live with." I concentrated on my work and ignored my lack of sleep and the other symptoms that were increasing in number and severity. Eventually, the stress-related complications overwhelmed me, and I was stopped dead in my tracks. Don't let it happen to you! Beware when things become overwhelming and watch for signs that signal excessive stress such as irritability, anxiety, depression, apathy, sleep problems, fatigue, muscle tension, headache, stomach issues, and social withdrawal. Remember, you have access to the resources necessary to take care of yourself! It doesn't require a complete lifestyle overhaul, but every proactive step will make you feel better and give you renewed energy, focus, and purpose. Like many in this profession, I was forced to step back and look at the big picture because of the toll that stress was taking on my life and the lives of my loved ones. I reevaluated my calendar and scheduled time for myself into my day. I made an easy-to-follow action plan and got more sleep, a little more exercise, and cut down on caffeine (Everyone has their vice, right? Some have coffee, nicotine, or alcohol. I have Pepsi). I took control of the things that were within my sphere of influence. I reminded myself that while my career in public safety was my true passion, I could not let my job and its related stresses overtake my entire life. Also, I discovered that one of the most beneficial things for my health and wellbeing was right in front of me. I had completely overlooked the support network of colleagues and friends I've come to know during my career in emergency services who truly understand what this line of work demands of us and how to deal with the associated pressures. I urge you to take the steps necessary to recognize, manage, and reduce your stress. Talk it through with a peer, spouse, friend, or minister; it doesn't matter who. Even a barber can be a great ally and sounding board. Make connections in and out of work to buffer the negative effects of stress. Learn to listen to your body and recognize the physical and emotional cues that mean it is time for a break! Take time away from work when you can to concentrate on yourself and your health. In the end, taking steps like these will not only benefit you, but also the callers whose lives just may depend on your calmness and clarity during their times of stress. ● Read the digital edition at 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Fall 2013

President’s Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
How “Well”thy is Your 9-1-1 Center?
Stress in the 9-1-1 Center
Don’t Stress Out — Reach Out
9-1-1’s Future
Index to Advertisers/

The Call - Fall 2013