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What Does a Public Safety Dispatcher Do?

Emergency calls are a common occurrence, with about 240 million calls made to 911 in the US. This is where public safety dispatchers come in. 

Dispatchers are typically the people who answer the phone once you make an emergency call. They are responsible for sending the police, fire department, or medical aid to your location. 

So what else should you know about public safety dispatchers? Keep reading to learn more about what they do!

Who Are Public Safety Dispatchers? 

A public safety dispatcher works in an emergency communications center where they utilize public safety software to respond to all non-emergency and emergency calls.

The most typical emergency dispatched is the fire, police, and ambulance services. This also includes the national guard and the coast guard if the crisis is at sea or more extensive. They may also dispatch city animal control and utility or state road department services.

Public safety dispatchers answer through telephone, radio equipment, and digital and analog alarms. They are responsible for properly accessing and managing the priority and nature of calls for assistance. Dispatchers also provide instructions, information, and assistance to the callers. 

Public Safety Dispatchers Tasks 

They work twelve hours plus shifts daily, even on birthdays and holidays. Dispatchers are always there because they have compassion. They understand that they’re a vital help to public safety, and reach your location, anywhere you are.

Public safety dispatchers’ tasks include: 

  • Monitors emergency robbery, fire, burglary, and medical alarms 
  • Takes responsive action upon activation of any alarm 
  • Maintains electronic logs of department activities
  • Informs suitable repair service of malfunctions of transmissions equipment
  • Fulfills clerical and administrative duties as assigned 

Safety dispatchers also attend training programs on college campuses. They do this to develop proficiency in given duties and train newbies. A dispatcher’s job is never complete until the personnel reaches the destination. 

Dispatchers are the only capable voice around to provide instructions in emergency cases. They won’t hang up until the caller on the other end gets the proper help.

Public Safety Dispatchers Training and Education

Dispatchers develop their ability through job training for three to six months. Most states need training or certification from college campuses or professional organizations. As an emergency dispatcher, you may need to provide medical advice too. 

You may enroll in a course for 911 dispatchers, like:

  • Civil or criminal law
  • Crisis intervention
  • Stress management
  • Radio broadcasting systems
  • Emergency medical dispatch
  • Communication center operations

Local and state laws often manage emergency medical or police response teams. Others may need you to pass tests that verify you have fulfilled a basic level of knowledge. 

Role of A Public Safety Dispatcher 

Public safety dispatchers are often the first point of contact in life-threatening situations. Their role demands a unique blend of qualities:

Calm Under Pressure

One of the primary traits of a dispatcher is to remain calm in high-stress calls involving critical health or life situations. Whether the call is about a burning building, a medical emergency, or someone fearing for their life, the dispatcher’s tone and demeanor can make a significant difference. Their consistent calmness not only aids in extracting vital information from often panicked callers but also helps soothe those in distress.

Expertise in the Emergency Priority Dispatch System (EPDS)

The EPDS equips dispatchers with a wealth of knowledge, allowing them to objectively and rationally assess and respond to calls.

Multitasking and Sound Judgment

Dispatchers must quickly decipher information from callers, sometimes who are frantic or disoriented. They then have to decide on a plan of action based on scant details, instructing callers on immediate next steps and alerting the right response teams.

Resilience and Tolerance

The average dispatcher confronts both routine and traumatic events daily, resulting in high stress and consequence-of-mistake scores. Despite this, they must maintain their focus and presence of mind to handle a diverse range of emergencies.

By constantly bridging the gap between the public and first responders, dispatchers play a pivotal role in public safety, ensuring help arrives where and when it’s needed most.

10-8 Systems: A Modern Computer-Aided Dispatch System 

Despite their ongoing tensions and nerves of steel during emergencies, dispatchers are sympathetic. Dispatchers’ quick thinking helps save lives in emergencies. Being calm under pressure, public safety dispatchers should be able to do their job accurately at any given moment.

Are you looking to upgrade your system to ease your dispatching job? 10-8 Systems can help with our innovative and powerful public safety cloud software. Contact us now to learn more about the features of our efficient dispatch software!


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