I knew immediately after reading “Answering 911, Life In The Hot Seat,” and seeing the movie, “The Call,” that I had this 911 thing under control. Not true. While they both gave a humorous, yet seemingly realistic view of a call taker/dispatcher’s life, no advance warning could have prepared me for the reality of being in the position. Having worked with people resolving issues for the majority of my career, I felt truly confident that this was just more of the same at a heightened level. Shame on me. What I have come to understand about this position is that it isn’t just a position, it is a way of life. From the classroom, to the floor, to many hours after I have left the building, I have become more cognizant of the fleeting aspect of a perfect world. There is no single definition of an emergency, and no respecter of persons for who things happen to. While trainers set up a foundation for the basics of emergency response, the reality is that even after being released, you are placed on a learning curve for the rest of your 911 life. This is a good thing, because as you are providing emergency and non-emergency assistance, your basic fundamentals of humanity, humility, and teamwork are expanded by leaps and bounds. When you are fully able to grasp the concept that common sense trumps book sense, you won’t become your own worst enemy, and you will definitely figure out that protocol is your friend. With so much at stake, it is imperative that the best information and resources are available inside and outside of the classroom, along with a sustainable environment that provides physical, emotional and intellectual support. Knowing that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link is a vital step in caring for a community and anything less, pales in comparison.