Police/fire/ambulance dispatchers perform a very crucial function in society. As such, they are required to possess a number of unique traits, particularly the ability to remain calm under pressure. They will be responding to emergency calls on a daily basis, many of which are life-or-death situations, so it is imperative that they remain rational and maintain communication. A college degree is not usually required, as employers place more emphasis on prior work experience.
A dispatcher's typical work day revolves around answering emergency phone calls and matching response teams in the area. Computer skills are necessary so they can track which response team is closest to a crisis and direct them in a timely manner. Dispatchers deal with a number of people each day, including police officers, EMTs, and fire-response teams, and typically work in office settings with computers and telephones. There are both day- and night-shifts and overtime is usually available during the holiday season when alcohol-related car accidents are more frequent.
Ideal candidates should be extremely organized and able to juggle a variety of tasks, and excellent communication skills are essential. Dispatchers must be able to communicate effectively to response teams so they can arrive on-scene as soon as possible. They should also have good people skills, as they will be dealing with people all day long.
Police, Fire, or Ambulance Dispatcher Tasks
Obtain incoming information and dispatch Police Officers, Emergency Medical and Fire personnel.
Maintain exact times and information on radio shift log.
Operate emergency communication and computer equipment such as radio, telephone, local alarm systems and paging systems.