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Emergency Vehicles Dispatcher  What They Do

Just the Facts

Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers Career Video

Operates radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receives reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relays information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Emergency and Fire Management Services pathway, Law Enforcement Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Questions callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • Receives 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.
  • Determines response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatches units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Records details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Enters, updates, and retrieves information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
  • Maintains access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
  • Relays information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
  • Scans status charts and computer screens, and contacts emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • Observes alarm registers and scans maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
  • Maintains files of information relating to emergency calls such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • 911 Dispatcher --
  • Communications Officer --
  • Communications Operator --
  • Communications Specialist --
  • Communications Supervisor --
  • Dispatcher -- Operates radios and other telecommunication equipment to dispatch emergency vehicles and to coordinate the activities of drivers and other personnel.
  • Emergency Communications Operator (ECO) --
  • Police Dispatcher --
  • Public Safety Dispatcher --
  • Telecommunicator --