Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

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.

Median Annual Wage: $37,410

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (76%); Some college, no degree (12%); Post-secondary certificate (7%)

Projected Growth: Average (8% to 14%)

Related Job Titles: Communications Specialist; Dispatcher; Communications Operator; Public Safety Dispatcher; Communications Officer; Police Dispatcher; Telecommunicator; 911 Dispatcher; Communications Supervisor; Emergency Communications Dispatcher

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers.

More Office and Administrative Support Careers

  • 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.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers.

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers.

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