Emergency Telecommunications Dispatchers (more commonly called 911 Dispatchers) are truly the first, first responders. They respond to emergencies before police, fire and EMS responders by answering 911 and other calls and alarms for help, quickly and accurately collecting all of the required information, and using that information in the context of their training and experience to dispatch the optimal number and type of initial units and resources.
They are adept at quickly sizing up a situation and understanding what is really going on by asking a set of key questions. They are quick and accurate in their information gathering - from a variety of sources - and they enter that information into Computer Aided Dispatch, Criminal Justice Information System and other real-time computer systems. They are alert to various scene safety considerations and thus able to protect the safety of firefighters, police officers and paramedic/EMTs.
If called for, the modern 911 Dispatcher calmly provides life saving instructions over the phone (for example instructions on giving a Heimlich or for CPR) then and stays on the line to insure that helpful instructions and calming advice is given while responders are enroute.
911 dispatchers excel at calming people who are frightened, panicky or upset; and they can wrest key details from the confused, the mentally ill and the intoxicated caller.
911 Dispatchers understand the geography, streets, landmarks, squares, neighborhoods, and major business locations within the city and can provide directions when asked.
They assist incident commanders in obtaining additional help in the event of a large fire or major crime; and they are prompt and reliable in following up on information and other requests from field personnel.
911 dispatchers have clear and authoritative speaking voices, both on the phone and over the radio. And they are polite, courteous, respectful and professional in their interactions over the phone, radio, and in person.
Finally, 911 dispatchers are the ultimate team players who work closely and collaboratively with their shift members skillfully handling any and all emergencies and requests for service throughout the peaks and valleys of their workdays.