Hectic start to tense job

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Calls to Grand Junction Regional Communication Center that involved an operator offering CPR assistance have been rare, and Jaime Rockey, left, handled two on her first day of work recently.

Jamie Rockey = Quick impact rookie lifesaver.

On April 2, they needed only a few hours to fully appreciate that at Grand Junction Regional Communication Center. Among her first few calls, on her first shift in Grand Junction, Rockey answered a 911 call from a woman reporting a man unconscious and not breathing.

“I was really nervous but glad to have my trainer there with me through the call,” she said. “The female did pretty well listening to me as I was telling her to do the compressions.”

It was several minutes later, and after paramedics arrived and Rockey disconnected, that she heard the distressed man was breathing again. He survived. A couple hours later, Rockey took another call with a similar scenario, ending with the same result.

Monica Million, manager of the Grand Junction dispatch center, said she was on the job five to six months when she started some 13 years ago before she had to give her first over-the-phone CPR instruction.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” Million said of Rockey’s first day. “It’s not unheard of, but to happen to a brand new person, having two on one day is really unusual.”

Of the 17,365 medical calls handled by Grand Junction dispatch in 2013, just three of them involved dispatchers helping to perform CPR, which resulted in a life saved, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.

Rockey, 25, who hails from West Virginia, said her desire to continue working close to law enforcement pushed her into 911 dispatching locally. A recent arrival to Grand Junction, along with her husband, she previously worked at a call center for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was essentially a tip line.

She completed four weeks of training for her Grand Junction job, including CPR certification and hands-on practice of CPR skills, but she had never answered a panicked phone call until April 2. As part of the training, the trainees listened to similar recorded frantic calls, “just to get their ear used to it,” Million said.

“A lot of us will go years into our careers without having to do it,” she said of CPR.


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