Meet the Dispatcher: Marnie Henson

I was born and raised in Ventura County. My husband Steven and I live in Camarillo where we both grew up. I have 3 grown sons, 2 stepdaughters, 2 soon to be daughters-in-law, 3 grandsons and a 1 yr. old granddaughter. We stay busy!  In our down time we enjoy Harley rides, off roading and camping in the desert and going to the lake and traveling. I love football season, go Chargers!  

I have been a dispatcher for VCFD for 18 years. I was fortunate enough to take a few years off in the middle to stay home with my boys when they were young.

I was born and raised in the Ventura County Fire Department. My Dad is a retired Fire Capitan and Mom worked in Fire Prevention and retired as Fire Marshall. I have always felt a calling to help others. 

In 1993 there was a wind drive wildfire, the Green Meadow Incident. I visited the base camp with my mom. It was at a park and looked like a little city. Base camp is where all the first responders go to get much needed rest, rehab and meals. Seeing all the resources and the set up made me so proud of my family, my dad was always the one on the fire line and my mom was working hard behind the scenes.

Then in 1994 the Northridge Earthquake struck, there was major damage in Ventura County.  I went with my mom and volunteered to work in what we call expanded dispatch ordering extra equipment and emergency supplies to assist the 1st responders.  It is very fast paced, I picked it up quickly. I was complimented on my abilities, and they encouraged me to interview for dispatch. So here I am today. very proud to be of member of the VCFD.

I absolutely love my job, helping others is so rewarding. Besides taking 911 calls and dispatching resources we have many other daily responsibilities that keep us busy, each day is challenging and different. We work so closely as a team here at FCC they are defiantly my second family. 

 

One of the things I am most grateful are the incredible people I work with, my fire family helped me through one of the most difficult and challenging times of my life, just as a dispatcher would.

I was on duty in September 2020 and started having stroke like symptoms. I had been dizzy for a long time but just blamed it on vertigo from my allergies. One of my coworkers talked my stubborn self into going to the ER, we were shocked when the Dr. told me I had a large mass in my brain and needed to be transported to another hospital for brain surgery. It was still the early stages of Covid lockdown, so I was alone with all the other patients at the hospital. I remember feeling so lonely and afraid.  My coworkers organized a drive by with an available fire engine and ambulance.  They all came to the hospital with my friends and family with signs to express their well wishes.  What they don’t know it not only did they help me, but they also helped the entire floor of patients, doctors and nurses to feel supported and loved during a very difficult time.  These are the incredible people I work with.  I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them all, the calm behind the storm.

Update: I had successful brain surgery and have an amazing Neurosurgeon, today I am glad to say I am almost fully recovered and back at work full time. Also don’t ignore symptoms, take care of yourselves people! 

When you call 911 in Ventura County your call goes to the closest law enforcement agency. If your call is medical or fire serve related, you will be transferred to Ventura County Fire. We dispatch fire and ambulance for all of Ventura County.  Listen to the 911 operator, they are trained to ask important questions and get information quickly, so you get the best response.

To read more about VCFD Dispatchers, visit:
https://conta.cc/3upjHXG

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