Mutual Influence between Dispatchers and Callers: Experience and Perception of Iranian Service Providers KC01-KC05
Dr. Hamidreza Khankeh,
Health in Emergency and Disaster research center, University of Social Welfare and Sciences, USWR, Tehran, Iran;
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinskainstitutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Introduction: In emergencies, where dispatchers are not directly involved at the incident scene, little attention is paid to the adverse events on them. Caller’s reactions may influence their decisions. Few studies about human aspects of emergency calls have been conducted but none of them was conducted from Iran.
Aim: To explore mutual influence between dispatchers and callers based on experiences and perceptions of the dispatchers.
Materials and Methods: The present qualitative study utilised constant comparative analysis method, recommended by Corbin and Strauss 2008 and was conducted among 15 Iranian dispatchers using semi structured in-depth interviews, from May 2016 to June 2016. The study participants were selected purposefully from four main emergency call centers in Tehran (Police, Emergency Medical Services, Iranian Red Crescent and Fire Department).
Results: Dispatchers, who have experiences in the dispatch centers and key informants, were selected for interviews. These personnel were employed as dispatchers with at least two years of experience or they were key informants. According to the participant’s experiences, mutual influence between dispatchers and callers as the main concept of the study was categorised into three subcategories including human and innovative essence of the emergency dispatcher’s job, psychological aspects, and surge of false emergency calls. In Iran, the multiplicity of emergency services along with their emergency numbers negatively affects the mutual influence between dispatchers and callers.
Conclusion: According to the findings, psychosocial support programs should be instituted in call centers not only for dispatchers but also for their family members and callers. Proper use of emergency numbers should become a common sense in the community. Relief agencies should move to create a national emergency number for more coordination between call centers to reduce caller’s confusion. There are several factors that cause anxiety in callers and consequently lead to aggression and false calls. These factors require exploration to reduce false calls. Exploring the processes of emergency call centers in Iranian context is suggested for future studies.