Caroline Burau—Tell Me Exactly What Happened: Dispatches from 911

About the Book:

“Every day, I think about quitting this job.” The job of an emergency call operator continues to change: new technology, new drills, new threats to the peace of the community. In her newest book, Caroline Burau, author of Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat, returns with new insights and stories that amaze and astound.

In Tell Me Exactly What Happened, Caroline Burau recounts her job in a single-person dispatch center for the city of White Bear Lake, and later her role as dispatcher for a ground and air ambulance service. She writes: "There is no beginning to this story, and no end. The dispatch center never closes and the phones never get shut off. There is just call after call after life after death after life again. And so it goes. And we sit in our hot seats: listening, waiting, and answering 911.”

Composed of 31 chapters packed with funny, difficult, and weird stories—and Burau's own sassy attitude—the book reminds readers of what's necessary to get this important job done, and why it's so hard to leave.

About the Author:

Caroline Burau was born in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where she would graduate high school, and later live and work as a 911 dispatcher. A journalism major at the University of St. Thomas, Burau wrote for small weekly newspapers until she was lured into public safety dispatching with the high hopes to save lives and make a difference. It was everything and nothing like she imagined. In 2006, she published a book about her rookie years on the job called Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat.

Burau worked for twelve years as a 911 dispatcher. Along the way, she also became a yoga instructor and honed her skills as a dogsitter and crazy cat lady. Also, if thrift-shopping was an Olympic sport, she would have at least one or two medals. She lives in a gingerbread-esque old house in St. Paul with her daughter, a little gray cat, and an old yellow dog.