911 Operators Walk Callers Through “The Worst Day of Their Lives”

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn


When someone dials 911 requesting medical assistance communication specialists have to work quickly to dispatch emergency personal to the scene but every so often their calm voices and clear instructions can save a life. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.

“My first one was a 9 year old female who’s father was not awake, not breathing and when I got her on the phone I walked her through CPR on her dad.” says Natasha Bishop.

Natasha Bishop and Sarah Watt are Emergency Communication Specialists at the Houlton Regional Communication Center. Both Bishop and Watt have been credited with a string of what are known as “code saves” or being able to successfully walk a caller through emergency instructions, such as CPR, over the phone, that directly resulted in a life being saved.

“I’ve had days where I come to work and the first call I take is CPR”

“How do you prepare yourself for a day of work like that?”

“It starts before you get here, you have to be in the mindset before you get here and when the phone rings, you answer it.” says Bishop.

Bishop, who has been at the Communications Center for 4 years and Watt who has been there for one say they’re just doing their job, often trying to walk callers through the worst days of their lives. In a two week period near the end of January the two of them had 3 code saves combined.

“Somebody who may have never had CPR training or instructions before, in order to do it effectively and bring somebody back that’s fantastic on their part for being able to listen to the instructions and take it in.” says Watt.

“How often do these calls come up where you’re having to do this?”

“Almost daily and the amount of times that we save someone is very seldom in comparison.” says Bishop

“Do you ever wonder in the back of your mind what happened with some of those calls?”

“Oh for sure, for sure, I mean sometimes you just never know, that’s part of the job, we’re behind the phone not the people on scene.” says Watt.

Both Bishop and Watt say the best thing you can do when you call 911 is to remain calm, listen to their instructions and communicate what is happening while EMS workers are in route.

“If you call 911 we’re there to help, so as frustrating as a situation may be listen to us and we will help you…even on the worst day of your life.” says Bishop.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8