Keeping Connection Alive

Heather Darata

I am not a big fan of the hot days so I was pretty excited when fall arrived. The air is crisp and invigorating. The leaves are turning beautiful colors and now beginning to fall off. I just started needing to wear a jacket. The smells of baking are in the air, and the holidays are on the horizon.

I, like everyone else, had been a little unsure of what to expect this fall. While the weather is somewhat predictable, other things hadn’t been “normal” since at least March. Working from home has become the new normal for some of us. Since mid-March—the day of the 5.7 magnitude earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley—I have been fortunate to work from home.

Since that time, I don’t go out as much as I used to. There aren’t as many places to go these days. I don’t talk to as many of my co-workers as I did when we would see each other at Academy headquarters. I miss those impromptu chats. I know Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting can help bridge the gap of not physically being in the same building, but for me it doesn’t quite feel the same.  

In a recent editorial meeting, we talked about connection. Do you feel, especially now, that your connection is not as strong with other people? Maybe you aren’t seeing your neighbors, family members, friends, or co-workers (especially those who work a different shift) as much right now. Perhaps you miss striking up a conversation with someone new at the grocery store now that your groceries are being delivered. Maybe you miss seeing your favorite server at that restaurant you love.

Even though things are different right now, there is one thing that hasn’t changed: People are still calling 911. Whether you are working from home or in the communication center, those calls keep coming in. Emergencies haven’t stopped. Perhaps now more than ever, people need to be heard. They crave that human connection. They are reaching out to you for help.

You offer them that help by connecting with them and sending them the right response for their situation in this time of uncertainty. Thank you for being there. Thank you for continuing to do your job in these times of uncertainty. You are the public’s lifeline. Keep connecting. We need you.

Heather Darata is Senior Copy Editor for the Journal. She has worked for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch for 14 years. When not working, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, getting together with family and friends, and dabbling in cooking and baking.