What Do Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Do?
Law enforcement and public safety agencies depend on police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers to relay essential information to the proper sources. These people will receive a report concerning a crime, fire or a medical emergency, and then those professionals will contact the proper unit. Another valuable service dispatchers provide is sometimes staying on the line with a victim and offering them support until help shows up. Entire communities rely on dispatchers, and there is going to be a rising demand for these professionals as time goes on. 3,600 jobs are expected to be created every year for these positions, and that accounts for 8% growth within the field.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Skills and Abilities
One of the most important skills a dispatcher can possess is customer service prowess. You need to be able to talk to people in a calm manner, and you need to be able to assess a situation to determine the best course of action. You should also be familiar with local and state ordinance codes and laws in order to know who to contact for the caller. You should have superior speaking skills so that you can convey information clearly to both the caller and the agency. You also need to possess knowledge of telecommunications and know how to control and operate your company’s communication systems.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Duties
In addition to answering calls, your list of duties also includes asking questions to the caller in order to gather more valuable information to determine the severity of the scenario. You may also need to record calls so that they can be referred back to later by the proper authorities. You will also need to maintain a database, which can include items such as a missing persons list or stolen vehicles. You will have access to numerous confidential materials, and you will be responsible for keeping that information private. Although you will be contacting units to send to callers, you may also need to give them medical advice that they need to administer on their own. Additional responsibilities that could be asked of you include:
- Monitoring security and alarm systems.
- Keeping track of equipment to ensure proper function.
- Troubleshooting any communication malfunctions in the equipment.
- Transferring calls to appropriate places.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Tools and Technology
As a dispatcher, you will need to know how to use your company’s telecommunications system. That includes familiarizing yourself with the radios, intercom systems and digital recording systems. There are various types of software on your computer you will need to learn how to use so that you can record and input data.
Education and Training for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
Most dispatchers only possess a high school education or some kind of equivalency. There are no real courses to take in traditional institutions to take to become a dispatcher, but you will need to go through a little bit of training once you actually earn the job. This is to ensure that you know exactly how to operate all the tools you will have at your disposal.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Salary
A dispatcher who is just starting out can expect to make around $11.44 an hour. However, the median hourly wage all over the United States is $18.00 an hour. There is the potential to make a lot more, and some professionals are capable of earning upwards of $28.00 an hour.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Jobs by Geography
The areas of the country that pay the most for this type of work include the District of Columbia, California and Nevada. These professionals are needed all over the nation, so if this kind of work interests you, learn more about it.