Meet the Dispatcher: Heather Lam

Heather Lam
lam - meet the dispatcher

I’m originally from Northern California where I attended Saint Mary’s College of California and received a degree in Psychology. I’m a mom to two amazing boys who keep me busy when I’m not at work, which usually involves watching them play soccer, rugby, or video games.   I also like baseball, especially the SF Giants, the beach, camping, wine tasting and live music. 

I first became a dispatcher in 2005 working for Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office as a police dispatcher. When I relocated to Camarillo in 2007, I utilized my degree and worked as a Behavioral Therapist for kids with Autism for several years before deciding to stay home full time with my kids.  When I was ready to return to the workforce I chose to return to dispatching and was fortunate enough to be hired by VCFD in 2018.  Three months into my training I unexpectedly found myself in a major transitional period in my life.  There were times that the stress of my personal life and the stress of the demanding yearlong training program seemed insurmountable. Being in training and on probation, I was so afraid that my work would be affected but I knew that I needed this more than ever at that time and pushed on. Thankfully, I had an amazing work family supporting me through it all, some of whom have even become close friends outside of work.  

I’ve always had a passion for helping people and am thankful that I get to come to work each day and help people who are experiencing one of, or possibly the worst day of their life.  

As a mom with young kids, any calls involving children hit close to home for me.  One that will always stick with me was a call of a baby not breathing.  The family lived in a remote area with a long response time, so I was on the phone with the parents guiding them through CPR for a lot longer than usual; it felt like an eternity before help arrived.  The parents did an amazing job but unfortunately the baby did not make it.  After calls like that I can’t wait to get home and hug my kids a little tighter. 

The Borderline shooting and Hill and Woolsey Fire have been the most memorable incidents for me so far.  I had just returned home from my regular day shift when the page went out asking for dispatchers to return due to the shooting at Borderline, so I went back into work.  I ended up staying at FCC all night to be available in case extra staffing was needed on the floor and then worked my regular day shift the following day, which is when the Hill and Woolsey fires broke out.  It seemed like I lived at FCC for a week answering nonstop calls. 


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