A Day in the Life of a 911 Dispatcher

Posted by Marie Athearn on Aug 4, 2017 8:45:10 AM


9 1 1.jpgWe at the Johnson County KS Emergency Communications Center pride ourselves on our operations and the technology we have available to use to do our jobs every day. We provide Fire and EMS services, and are a secondary PSAP, providing 911 call taking and dispatching for fire and medical calls, with certified EMD call takers for medical events. We service 10 fire agencies and 2 ambulance agencies, dispatching and managing resources before, during, and after events.
To provide the best efficiencies, we have separate call takers and dispatchers, to provide quality customer service to each call in real time. The call taker can receive a 911 call for service, and process the call to be dispatched, once an address and generic nature are obtained, this provides the dispatcher the call to assign and dispatch the needed fire and/or medical resources to the incident while the call taker is able to continue to assist the caller and provide needed instruction. In addition, this process has provided efficiencies in communications to meet NFPA standards for our fire agencies as well process a medical call with EMD for time critical diagnosis and instruction without delay.

A key functionality to our process is not just the technology that makes it work, but our staff. The staff operate multiple technologies and tasks simultaneously and because of this, we look at efficiencies in operations and functionality for processing calls, as well as comforts for them to perform at their best. Our staff work 12 hours, which can be long or short depending on the volume and activity of the departments we serve. For this, we have completely adjustable consoles, so that a dispatcher can stand or sit, maintain their own heating and cooling, and have access to the support technology needed for them to be able to do their assigned duties at one location. We also provide 24/7 rated chairs for this purpose as well, their role is vital and therefore we want them to be comfortable so that their needs will never encumber the needs of a 911 caller.

So what happens when things don’t go as planned? Each console is set up with the same technologies and configuration. A call taker can sit in one position and a radio dispatcher an alternate position, but if the console or technology were to have technical issue, we can move to a vacant position to continue operations seamlessly. There is nothing more frustrating than to not have the resources to do the job and to do it effectively. We have an on-site technical division that provides immediate assistance to take care of these needs as well.

Thank you to all the dedicated and committed staff that work in 911 every day, hour, and minute. We all know that it is only one moment that can change a life and we are with those callers during those critical moments.

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Topics: Dispatch, Fun & Morale