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911 Dispatcher Duties and Responsibilities
A variety of tasks come into play as 911 Dispatchers work to coordinate the appropriate response to callers' situations. We analyzed job postings to identify these primary 911 Dispatcher duties and responsibilities.
Manage Multiple Lines of CommunicationMany emergency dispatchers do not handle a single phone line, but are responsible for handling multiple channels of communication simultaneously, such as radio, telephone or computer messaging. 911 Dispatchers often need to prioritize multiple incoming calls without getting overwhelmed, knowing that their decisions will play a critical factor in emergency services' response time to each call.
Crisis ManagementBecause 911 Dispatchers are often a person's first line of communication with emergency services - whether the issue at hand requires police, fire or medical intervention - dispatchers are sometimes required to deal with people who are terrified or overwhelmed. The emotional discipline necessary to remain calm and walk the caller through the steps necessary to ensure their safety, is a vital part of working with emergency services.
Clerical Work911 Dispatchers are also called upon to create, copy and file a variety of case records. They may process legal violations, as well as records of stolen, lost or recovered property.
Coordinating with co-workers911 Dispatchers also work in key roles in the chain of emergency services. They relay information to subordinates, co-workers, supervisors and the relevant emergency services necessary to meet the needs to each caller. These communications come in verbal and written forms.
Monitor AlarmsThose working as 911 Dispatchers may also remotely operate or monitor alarm systems pertaining to theft, armed robbery, intrusion, civil defense and the National Weather Service's warning systems. This includes using Computer Aided Dispatch systems (CAD) to quickly meet a caller's needs.
911 Dispatcher SkillsEmergency Dispatchers are the key link in the chain connecting people in trouble with emergency services. They're often called upon to use social and communication skills to help resolve various calls, which can range from the mundane to the life threatening. Circumstances also call for critical thinking skills, to find creative ways of solving problems over the phone. Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want 911 Dispatcher with these core skills. If you want to work as a 911 Dispatcher, focus on the following.
- Experience effectively communicating with people in emotional or physical distress
- Ability to read maps and provide clear directions
- Ability to advise callers on how to handle medical and other emergencies
- Proficiency in basic computer programs, including Microsoft Office and Excel
- Experience with 911 system databases, such as the National Crime Information Center NCIC database, Law enforcement information databases and National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems
- Proficiency with computer-aided dispatch programs, such as CAD software, such as Spillman CAD software
- Experience managing multiple phone lines as an operator, customer service representative or telephone salesperson
911 Dispatching Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a 911 Dispatcher. This list is full of job resources, everything from career overviews, to networking groups and real-life stories of actual emergency dispatchers.
On the Web
emergency dispatcher. Find a taste of the life of a dispatcher between these pages.
Master the Public Safety Dispatcher/911 Operator Exam - This manual provides everything a student needs to pass the exam for becoming a 911 operator. This includes practice tests, reviews of each question type and even strategies to use to make the most of your studying habits.
So You Want to Be a 911 Dispatcher: What to Expect and How to Prepare - The job of a 911 dispatcher is gradually becoming a career-based profession. This book can give you additional resources to build a real career out of a job in emergency dispatching.
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