ORLANDO, Fla. - The 911 dispatchers who worked during the Pulse nightclub shooting described what it took to calm down victims inside the club and to handle the onslaught of calls.
Some of the dispatchers said they still deal with the emotional toll from that night. They said they were a support system for each other.
Some of them worked as many as 20 hours after the June 12 shooting.
"In my career, I've never worked anything like that," said Latashia Stephens, an Orlando police dispatch supervisor. "This was not our ordinary shooting. This was something very, very different. The calls that we were receiving, we immediately went into our active shooter training."
The training involved remaining calm, even as chaos erupted around them. Orlando police and fire dispatchers said the calls kept coming in from people inside the club, law enforcement officers and from family members who were looking for answers.
"We all kind of were like, ‘Whoa, this is for real? This is happening here in Orlando right in our backyards?'" Stephens said.
The dispatchers said they had to reassure callers that help was on the way while still answering calls for other emergencies that happened that night.
"The training does pay off," Orlando police dispatch Supervisor Marcela Galarza said. "But the emotional toll was just out of this world."
Inside the emergency operations center, dispatchers shuffled all available ambulances, communicated with police officers and spoke with relatives in need of answers.
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