Work Schedule

Schedule and Hours Overview

Six-Month Initial Training:

Typically, New ETDs begin with a 5-week Pre-Service Basic Training program followed by 5 months of structured On-Shift Training. During On-Shift Training ETDs work with a dedicated trainer to achieve Call-Taker Certification and Basic Police or Fire Dispatch Certification.

5 Week Pre-Service Basic Training—Training provided by the Massachusetts 911 Department. Trainees may be required to report for training at a number of different sites but the primary training site is in Maynard.

Workgroups and Shifts :

All Trainees and almost all dispatchers are assigned to one of five Dispatch Workgroups. A Dispatch Workgroup typically consists of one Supervisor and 4 to 5 dispatchers. On the overnight shift, this workgroup staffs the Emergency Communications Center without assistance. On most Day and Evening shifts, they are assisted by 1 or 2 additional dispatchers in Group 6 who work straight shifts.

Depending on need and skills, dispatchers are assigned to workgroups by EC Management.

Shifts are 8 hours in duration with the following hours:

Day Shift - 7 AM until 3 PM

Evening Shift - 3 PM until 11 PM

Overnight Shift - 11 PM until 7 AM

Work Schedules:

Dispatchers assigned to the five main workgroups (1-5) work a rotating shift schedule called the “Tour”. For planning purposes - this is not exact - the schedule works as follows: Dispatchers work a 10-day week, with 6 days on followed by “4 days” (actually 96 hours) off. The first 2 workdays in the 6 day on-duty workweek are day shifts, the next two are evening shifts, and the last two are overnight shifts.

A sample 2-week slice of a rotating shift schedule is as follows:

Week 1 SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
7AM-3PM (Days) WORK WORK
3PM-11PM (Evenings) WORK WORK
11PM-7AM (Overnights) WORK WORK
Week 2 SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
7AM-3PM (Days) WORK WORK
3PM-11PM (Evenings) WORK
11PM-7AM (Overnights)

           

Depending on staffing needs, dispatchers may be assigned to the Day or Evening straight shifts as supplemental staff. Typically 1-2 dispatchers are assigned to straight days and 1 to straight evenings.  A dispatcher could also be assigned to a Relief or Fill- in Position in which their work hours will be pre-assigned but vary from week to week depending on the vacancies.   

 

Minimum Staffing:

 

To maintain coverage on shifts, it is sometimes necessary to force a dispatcher to work the next shift when no other eligible employee is willing to work the shift voluntarily.  This mostly occurs for last minute sick calls.  A separate list is maintained to track forced overtime and it is rotated among all dispatchers.   Only under extreme circumstances will a dispatcher be required to work more than 16 hours continuously.    

Contact Information

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142

Phone:617-349-6911

Hours of Service

Emergencies: 24/7
Administrative Office: M-F 8:30-5

Cambridge Alert Network

Cambridge Alert Network