If you were to walk into London Ambulance’s control room and you might see a green-clad woman ferociously scribbling notes on the back of a rejected annual leave slip between calls. That woman is me, and those notes form the basis of this blog. Since I started work in the Emergency Operations Centre (or Nee Naw Control, as I like to call it), I have kept a diary my most memorable calls, from delivering babies in pub toilets to soothing hungover teenagers, via the inevitable embarrassing sexual accident. In 2005, I decided that the time had come to release that diary on to the Internet for public consumption. It’s fair to say I didn’t expect it to get quite as much attention as it did!
I’m in my early thirties and I live in East London. One day, with the help of my inimitably patient driving instructor and a lot of perseverance, I might be on the other side of the fence, driving the ambulances. For now, and for possibly some time to come, I work as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher in London Ambulance’s control room. I started in 2004, where my role was that of a 999 call taker. Over the following five years, I’ve worked my way up and in January 2009, I was promoted to Allocator, which is the person who decides which ambulance goes where. Well, there’s a little more to it than that. These days I’m still in the thick of the action but often it’s a case of listening to someone else take the call and deciding what to do about it. The ambulance crew’s safety and the patients’ health depend on my decisions, so in a way it’s even more responsibility than call taking. I still take calls sometimes. The drama of dealing with a life threatening call, and the satisfaction when you do something to help is something I never want to lose.
I originally wrote this blog under the pseudonym Mark Myers, the real name of a childhood hero of mine who also used a pseudonym. My real name is Suzi Brent, which is short for Susan. I loathe and despite anyone who calls me Sue, to the point when my colleagues started calling me “Cyril” after taking the statement “I prefer ANYTHING to Sue” far too literally.
What On Earth Is A Nee Naw?
A Nee Naw is a child’s word for an ambulance, fire engine or police car, based on a phonetic approximation of the old two-tone siren sounds.
What I Hope To Achieve By Writing This Blog
I’d like to teach the general public a little bit about how, when and why to call for an ambulance. I’d like them to stop shouting “hurry up” in my earhole when the ambulance has already been sent and I’m trying to tell them how to resuscitate their grandma. I’d like Chat magazine to stop referring to those who do my job as “The Operator”.