May 23, 2011
New Hampshire Dispatcher Receives Annual Navigator Award
New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Communication PSAP Supervisor Stephen Harris, EMD, received the Dispatcher of the Year Award for 2011 at the Navigator Conference sponsored by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED).
Harris was at work during the midnight shift on Thanksgiving Day 2010 when he responded to a call from Tom “TJ” Cogswell who needed immediate medical assistance for his wife Denise. The Wolfeboro, N.H., resident had lapsed into a seizure later attributed to heart arrest caused by ventricular fibulation.
“She’s not waking up,” he told Harris.
Harris launched into the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) Pre-Arrival Instructions for CPR, surprised TJ who expected to wait in anxious silence for responders to arrive. TJ was able to administered chest compressions following the instructions Harris relayed through his stepson Derek Brockney.
Paramedics took over upon arrival, applying two shocks from a defibrillator prior to transport. Denise was transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where she spent one week in ICU.
Harris later met the family during a visit to the PSAP, and for a second time at Navigator when they were brought together on stage for the award presentation.
Denise acknowledged Harris, her son, TJ, and MPDS for beating the odds.
“There were a lot of heroes that day,” Denise said. “And, I’d like to thank all of you. I am alive because of what you do.”
Harris said he was awed by the recognition, although accolades he said aren’t the reason he enjoys working in dispatch.
“It feels great to know we can save lives,” said Harris, a firefighter prior to transferring to dispatch three years ago.
More than 1,200 emergency communication professionals attended this year’s Navigator Conference held April 20 to April 22 at the Paris in Las Vegas. The NAED is a non-profit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide. Baltimore, Md., will be the host city for Navigator 2012.
For more information about the NAED, visit www.emergencydispatch.org or call 800-960-6236.