24 years ago, a 911 dispatcher took a call that would change a young girl’s life.
It not only saved her brother but directed her life path.
At just 12 years-old, Tiffany Arend was getting ready for school when she found her brother injured.
“I just remember seeing him standing in the bathroom doorway with blood everywhere,” said Tiffany Arend.
She didn’t know what had happened but knew she needed to get help.
“I was waiting for my shift change, I was cleaning out my area and 911 rang, and I took the call and the first thing she said was ‘my brother is bleeding to death,” said Pamela Frisk, the 911 dispatcher who took the call.
“I just remember the person helped me stay calm, I knew I had to stay calm from watching the show and I told them my brother is bleeding to death, and I remember them asking ‘what is your address and do you know why or what happened’ and at that time I had to ask him and he was conscious through the whole thing,” added Tiffany.
Her brother told her he had shot himself.
Pamela Frisk, the dispatcher who took the call, walked her through what to do all while keeping the young girl calm.
“It was just so nice to be able to know that somebody was on the other end, listening to and helping me and I lived out in the county so it literally felt like it took forever for somebody to get there to help but I knew I had somebody on the other end of the line that was telling me what to do. When he was telling me he was getting cold, I thought ‘oh my gosh, my brother is dying, he’s lost too much blood that is why he is cold,” said Arend.
“This call was one of the calls that stood out. I think because of what had happened but also because it was a young child who had called and how well she did,” said Pamela.
The phone call was life-changing for Tiffany in many ways.
It not only saved her brother’s life, but she also decided then that she wanted to be that calming voice for someone else.
So she became a dispatcher.
“If I can be that person for somebody then that is what I want to do, from that day on I always wanted to be a dispatcher,” said Tiffany.
Nearly 23 years after the call was made, the two were able to meet.
Pamela was teaching a class to local dispatchers about a call she will never forget when another dispatcher recognized the story and approached her.
Pamela tells us about when she found out:
“The girl works for us now’ and I looked at her and I looked at her and said ‘what girl’ and she said ‘the girl that called you’ and I was very taken aback, and she said ‘yea, she works with us, because of you, she became a dispatcher.’ It gave me chill bumps and almost to where I was very emotional.”
Meeting Pamela had always been a goal of Tiffany’s
“I want to meet that person but then years and years went by and I thought I am never going to meet them, I don’t know who it is, it has been so long, so when she told me Pam was talking about this story and it is your story, I thought, I finally get to meet the person who helped me years and years ago,” added Tiffany.
Tiffany is glad it was Pamela who took the call that day.
“Had I not had someone that was so calm with me or so patient with me then I think it would’ve completely gone a totally different direction.”
“We are not only saving lives, but you can impact a life just by being a good dispatcher,” said Pamela.
Both women are working to teach classes to other dispatchers to share their story and to express the importance of working with child callers.