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Also known as:
911 Dispatcher, 911 Operator, Ambulance Dispatcher, Emergency Communications Dispatcher, Emergency Communications Operator, Emergency Operator, Emergency Telecommunications Dispatcher, Fire Dispatcher, Police Dispatcher, Police Radio Dispatcher
Whenever there's an emergency, someone has to take the "911" call, get the details from the caller, and decide which resources should be activated and sent to the scene. That's the job of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers. Also known as public safety dispatchers, these workers need to be able ...
to question the callers to determine the nature, seriousness, and location of the emergency.
They must then prioritize the incident and decide which units should be sent. Often, a dispatcher will also remain on the phone, telling the caller what to do and possibly giving first-aid instructions when an ambulance is on its way.
An ability to remain cool under pressure is essential, along with skill in calming distraught callers and getting them to provide vital information. Stress levels can be quite high. But without police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, public safety services simply couldn't respond to emergencies. That makes this occupation absolutely essential.
Operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receive reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relay information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Learn material and pass required tests for certification.
Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.
Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations.
Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
Receive incoming telephone or alarm system calls regarding emergency and non-emergency police and fire service, emergency ambulance service, information and after hours calls for departments within a city.
Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.
Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies.
Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.