AT THE TOP of the rabbit warren of offices in the police station, the staff in the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre (JESCC) are busy taking calls.
A trades person has rung because she has turned up at the home of an elderly individual and it is believed the man may have collapsed and is unresponsive behind a locked bathroom door.
A concerned member of the public has spotted a possible drink-driver acting erratically.
An honest motorist has called up because she has just hit another car while trying to park at the North Beach, also it’s her birthday.
And at the South Esplanade, a traffic warden is on the line to report fuel on the road between the Harbour Lights and the Slaughterhouse, so there is a discussion about whether to close the road or just send States Works to put down sand.
There is no such thing as a typical day here because of the myriad of ways you can hurt yourself in the island and in its surrounding waters.
During International Control Room Week, the Guernsey Press was allowed to go behind the scenes to meet the soothing voices who answer the 999 and non-emergency 725111 numbers.
At 11am on a weekday perceptions that the staff sit around waiting for the phone to ring are proven completely wrong, and the phones are going constantly.
The best way to describe JESCC is that it is like the brain that tells the arms and legs to go and complete the action, and staff said it was like the swan on the water – serene and calm on the surface, but paddling hard underneath.
For Homeland fans, it looks like the war room because of the bank of CCTV screens of island hotspots at the front.
Mia Musto is in the hot seat answering the calls at the front of the room and she explained how they assess the information and deliver the best response.
‘The d-codes are determinate codes which decide what respond we give, it’s really important for ambulance because it will determine whether you need airless crews, advanced life support or basic, whether you need a paramedic on board, or whether someone needs help to get off the floor with no injuries.
‘So it’s really important to get the questions right to get the right codes.’
In the row of desks behind Mia, Kyle Gallie is in the dispatcher seat, and the shared computer system means that he can see what information Mia is logging and then he calls the relevant service or services, allowing Mia to stay on the line with the caller.
Kyle has been working for JESCC for four-and-a-half years, after a change of career.
‘I was working in finance, when I came back from uni I saw finance as a temporary job, but I never really figured out what it was I wanted to do; and when I had my first child I had an epiphany because I was miserable in finance, I needed to get out and find something else.
‘I saw an ad in the paper that JESCC was hiring and I went to an open day and I loved the sound of it, and I’ve been here ever since and I’m still loving it.’
Shane Harvey is the team leader on red watch, and he is the person the others turn to when they are not sure of what action to take.
The team works a 12-hour shift plan, with two days on, two nights on, and then four days off; and Shane said they were a tight-knit group.
‘We’re together for 48 hours within four days so it’s intense. Everyone says that we’re like a little family, a weird strange family, it’s nice because we’re so close so it helps us work together. There’s no awkwardness, we’re happy to discuss things and if there are any concerns no one is worried to air those concerns.’
Friday and Saturday nights tend to be the busiest for JESCC, but they can sometimes be ‘q’ (it is considered bad luck to use the word ‘quiet’).
As I leave, sand is being put down on the South Esplanade, the apparent drink-driver was a false alarm with good intent, and the elderly man was found in his garden doing some pruning.