An ambulance on time can save a life, a police van on time can stop a robbery or chase down a murderous culprit, a fire engine on time can limit the extent of damage caused by the furious flames, and a cab on time can have you reach anywhere you want, again, on time. Agreed, it’s not a difficult task to send any of these vehicles to the required spot, but it’s a hell of a job when there’s an emergency and these things can’t afford to be late. That’s when the entire spotlight focuses on the dispatcher — the one who attends to the emergency calls by the citizens, coordinates, and forwards the information to the rightful parties in an unnerving and efficient way that makes them reach, on time. To say the least, it’s not just a job. One, you need to be passionate and caring enough to serve to those who’re in dire straits. Two, you need to have an impregnable attitude and undefiled attention towards the caller who’s future may have life-altering affects after he/she disconnects.
A high school diploma is the basic educational requirement that is required to qualify as a dispatcher. Apart from this, candidates need to pass numerous tests such as criminal background check, a pre-employment personality test, a drug test, voice stress test, physical examination, and a polygraph test before they can be selected for further training. Besides this, some organizations also demand a previous job experience in handling calls and public dealing.
After fulfilling all the required eligibility criteria, the candidates need to go through an active training program with experienced team of dispatchers. The candidates will be acquainted with the procedures for taking various emergency calls under police department, fire department, medical department, and other department calls that you may have to handle later on. During the time, the candidates will also learn about various medical procedures, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) being the most essential, or precautionary measures that can be dictated to the caller (depending on the emergency) till the help arrives. The training generally lasts for six months and the performance of the candidates is measured and evaluated on a regular basis.
Candidates must know how to type, type fast, and type correctly. A typing speed of 35 to 40 words per minute with no errors will come in most handy at the time of emergency.
Candidates must possess strong listening skills and should be able to type while talking and note down what they hear as quickly as possible.
Candidates must possess the ability to work under tremendous pressure; not letting the emotions hamper the productivity and keeping mistakes as minimum as possible.
Candidates will be taught how to handle various communications equipment during their training. It’s up to them to master the skill of handling any.
Candidates should have a way around people and must know how to calm them down, while providing them with assurance of help and some precautionary measures before the help arises.
Candidates should be able to manage all the information and communicate them in an efficient way; avoiding any further delays.
Roles & Responsibilities
Dispatchers have a responsibility of handling the communications of the area(s) assigned to them. It’s the job of dispatchers to attend the calls of the citizens and dispatch service vehicles, equipments, or workers to the said address on the scheduled time. It’s the job of the emergency dispatchers to attend to the emergency calls made by the citizens and look after their well being by effectively communicating the information to the police department, medical department, fire department, or whatever the caller demands for, based on seriousness of the situation and picking up the undertone of the caller. After that, the dispatcher needs to forward the information provided by the caller to the respected authorities, not leaving out even the minutest of detail that may come in handy at the time help is attending to the required person. At the same time, it is a responsibility of the dispatcher to provide first aid instructions or guidance to the caller as what needs to be done, while the help arrives. To calm the caller’s nerves, the dispatcher should be able to convince the caller that it’s going to be alright and that help will reach him/her any moment. It’s a dispatcher’s job to maintain all the logs, records, schedule of received calls, and the transportation vehicles.
With an ever expanding population and economy, the employment of dispatchers has been projected to grow. Prospects seem to be brighter for those who have prior experience in the field of tele calling or as a dispatcher. Transfer, retirement, and resignation from the field are likely to create more job openings in the field.
If you strive to serve the society, possess excellent communication skills, have multitasking abilities, and are willing to work under pressure for longer hours; a career in dispatching will definitely prove to be fruitful to you, as well as to the society.