Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

Description

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.

Tasks

  • Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • 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.
  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.
  • Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations.
  • Learn material and pass required tests for certification.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
  • Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies.
  • Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.
  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies such as fires and illegal entry into establishments.
  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment.

Knowledge

Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Physics
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
History and Archeology
Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

Skills

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Dynamic Strength
The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
Speed of Limb Movement
The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.

Interests

Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

911 Dispatcher
911 Emergency Dispatcher
911 Emergency Services Dispatcher
911 Operator
911 Operator (Nine One One Operator)
911 Public Safety Dispatcher
911 Telecommunicator
Alarm Operator
Call Person
Call Taker
Communications Officer
Communications Operator
Communications Specialist
Communications Supervisor
Dispatch Manager
Dispatcher
Electronic Telecommunication Dispatcher (ETD)
Emergency Communications Dispatcher
Emergency Communications Officer (ECO)
Emergency Communications Operator (ECO)
Emergency Communications Technician
Emergency Medical Dispatcher
Emergency Operator
Emergency Telecommunications Dispatcher (ETD)
Fire Dispatcher
Fire Fighters Dispatcher
Forest Fire Fighters Dispatcher
Law Enforcement Technician
Medical Dispatcher
Patrol Telecommunicator
Police Communications Dispatcher
Police Communications Operator
Police Dispatcher
Police Radio Dispatcher
Protective Signal Operator
Public Safety Dispatcher
Public Safety Telecommunicator
Radio Dispatcher
Telecommunications Specialist
Telecommunicator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$17.45 hourly, $36,300 annual.
Employment (2008):
95,640 employees