I’ve been working as a dispatcher at the 112 call centre in Riga for 6 years. I always wanted to work with people and to use my communication skills to help others.

Every life saved inspires me. My first shift supervisor was also inspiring. She taught me to be independent, to assess situations and make decisions quickly, and to communicate with colleagues and people in need. I have always taken my work very seriously, as human life depends on me and how fast and correct my actions are.

On 21 November 2013, the roof of the Riga shopping centre collapsed. 54 people and 3 firefighters tragically died there, and it was the deadliest incident since our independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The rescue mission finished on 25 November. Dispatchers, including myself, were working at the call centre communicating with firefighters for 5 days. We took thousands of calls from desperate and scared people searching for their relatives. It was a very difficult time.

The hardest thing about the job is feeling the pain and problems of other people. And these feelings and emotions have to be kept inside. I would like people to have more respect for people working in the emergency services and to know that I am just a person. I have my own interests, a child, a family and every day I put aside my own life and problems to listen to what the callers need. And I’m so pleased that I can help others and save lives.