Introduction of 911 Dispatcher
Someone like them “knows addresses they’ve never been to, people they’ve never seen, and secrets no one can hear about.” They are the unsung emergency response heroes: cool under pressure and ready for anything. The anonymous 911 dispatchers organize first responders to help persons in need.
Similar Job Titles
- Ambulance Dispatcher
- Emergency Medical Dispatcher
- Public Safety Dispatcher
- Emergency Communications Dispatcher
- Public Safety Telecommunicator
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do 911 Dispatchers do?
A 911 Dispatcher would typically need to:
- Collaborate with law enforcement and first responders to promptly address life-threatening and non-life-threatening requests for help or information.
- Take in urgent and routine calls, and deal with concerns by offering workable answers.
- Callers in need should be asked for and their emergency details recorded so that you can respond appropriately.
- Determine the level of urgency of a 911 call and respond accordingly.
- Decide on what to do in an emergency based on established protocols.
- Find out where the caller is and what the problem is, and then provide that information to the right people.
- Determine, dispatch, monitor, and track available first response units through radio, phone, or computer.
- Keep an eye on where field units are and how they’re doing; translate and pass along instructions to the troops on the ground.
- Try to reassure the caller and provide medical assistance if they need it.
- Help the caller over the phone while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Cooperate with nearby communication hubs to coordinate emergency responses.
- Keep meticulous digital records of every incoming and outgoing call made or received while under their supervision.
Standard Work Environment
911 Dispatchers often man office-based switchboards or communication hubs. Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) are where ambulance dispatchers operate in several nations.
Working long hours is just expected. Nine hundred-eleven operators often perform 12-hour shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays. All 911 dispatchers must work around the clock every day of the year.
It might not be very safe to look for a new job. Job-seeking 911 dispatchers may benefit from networking, direct company contact, online job boards, career fairs, social media, and staffing agency inquiries, among other strategies.
911 Dispatchers are generally employed by:
- Local & State Government Agencies
- Ambulance Services
- Colleges, Universities, & Professional Schools
- State, Local, & Private Hospitals
Unions / Professional Organizations
Membership in a professional organization like the National Emergency Number Association is essential if 911 dispatcher wants to further their career or make new connections. Your CV will benefit from your membership in one or more of these organizations because of the credibility and authority they provide.
- Handling distressing calls may lead to emotional stress and trauma
- Managing highly volatile situations and demanding tasks
- Long working hours may lead to fatigue or boredom
- Dealing with a large number of calls needing urgent attention
- Sitting for long periods can cause physical discomfort and health issues
Suggested Work Experience
Potential employees for 911 dispatching positions are expected to have paid or volunteer expertise in the healthcare industry.
Working in a contact center or the customer service business may help you get your first job since these positions require excellent communication and problem-solving abilities.
When your homework and classwork complement one another, you’ll learn and retain more of what you’re taught. You can learn a lot from more seasoned professionals and hear many anecdotes if they can convert everyday occurrences into instructive opportunities.
To show your dedication to being a 911 Dispatcher, it is recommended that you research the field, conduct interviews with current dispatchers, and even job shadow professionals in the field.
911 Having a graduation or GED from high school is often required for a career in dispatching. It would be helpful to have a two-year associate’s or four-year bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, computer science, or communications.
Basic training in fire communications and medical dispatch may also be required.
In high school, you should improve your command of the English language.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
Certified 911 dispatcher has shown their proficiency in various areas through on-the-job training, formal education, and examination.
Earning credentials from an independent and well-respected organization in emergency medical dispatch, public safety communications, and public safety may set you apart in a crowded employment market and boost your career prospects.
A Code of Ethics is integral to any credible certification program that safeguards the public interest.
911 Valid driver’s licenses are typically required of dispatchers. Many government agencies handle the licensing procedure. Obtaining a license often calls for filling out an application, paying a fee, taking a test, and having the necessary training and experience. See whether your company has any specific licensing requirements.
Projected Career Map
911 Dispatchers with a lot of experience and a solid performance record may be promoted to Senior Dispatchers or Supervisors and then to managerial roles. They then specialize in one profession facet: training, policy, and procedure.
Job chances are better for those fluent in English, with appropriate work experience, and certified in emergency medical dispatch, public safety communications, and public safety.
Beneficial Professional Development
A one-year probationary term typically follows classroom and field training for newly appointed employees.
Essential information concerning first responder units, first aid, prioritizing calls, and dispensing telephonic advice should be included in a comprehensive training program with teaching on utilizing communication and computerized command/control systems and recording information.
Your company may also require you to take courses on responding to acts of terrorism, dealing with stress, or helping victims of domestic abuse.
An active 911 Dispatcher may benefit from continuous professional development (CPD) in several ways. These include work-based learning, professional activities, formal education, and self-directed learning. Consistent professional development (CPD) also aids in maintaining relevant certifications and licenses.
To endure the job’s long hours, stressful environment, and emotionally draining nature takes strength, compassion, and selflessness. So it should come as no surprise that 911 dispatchers are among the most selfless people in the world.
Advice from the Wise
Taking calls requires you to maintain composure and not let your anxiety show. A level head is useful for gaining perspective.
Explore Also: How to Become a Chief Information Officer?