1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Paid Dispatchers

    I need some feedback as far as what other departments have in the way of paid dispatchers.
    1. Full or Part-time?
    2. Shifts? 4,6,8 hour?
    3. Call Volume?
    4. Approx rate of pay?

    Last year my department ran 507 fire alarms and 1166 ems runs. Our current method of dispatch stinks, we are initially activated by our county center, and then the first firefighter into the building is to man the base radio. This is a problem in a couple of ways, there is a slight delay in response time as nobody wants to get stuck on the radio, some of the guys on the radio get stage-fright and just sound terrible, some are just plain bad dispatchers. When I was Captain, we implemented a rule to roll the first due truck and then man the base radio, however, this rule was removed by one of the Chiefs (go figure).
    I see a paid dispatcher as a plus all around:

    1. No reception problem on pagers when activated from base.
    2. Location, time out, nature of alarm, etc. can be transmitted to all stations via fax and/or PC screen.
    3. Fire reports can me entered immediatley and sent to Albany (they keep a record of all New York alarms).
    4. Accountability of personnel that responded to the alarm is handled much better.
    5. There is always someone in-house for those walk-up, drive-up, phone-in direct alarms.
    6. EMS personnel can call-in when responding, facilitating a quicker analysis of crew status and the need for additional man-power and/or mutual aid.
    7. We could go to station response for those 2:00 am B/S alarms.
    8. Administrative duties can be performed for the District and/or Chief's office.
    9. If they were part-timers, no benefits would have to be paid (hold back the dogs all you union guys, that's another topic!)
    10. There would be trained, professionals on our radio, not just any newbie/don't have a cluebie.

    Do you think our call volume justifies 24/7 paid dispatchers?

    [This message has been edited by iwood51 (edited September 23, 1999).]

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Is your dept career, vol, or combo? we cover a city and dist of 14,000 people and are disp through the 911/city police combined dispatch center. This works great for the reasons you gave, such as times, they have mapping systems, hydrant locations and can be getting that stuff ready while the 1st due engines are en-route. Paid disp is the way to go, and I was going to say if you are a paid dept maybe you could hire another man per shift and just rotate out the radio duties through out the day. This definately isnt the solution, you need disp to be separate but I'm just throwing out some ideas. Also why cant your SO continue to monitor the call after dispatching you? You could give them a sheet for your in-service time, on-scene, returning and so on...? Best of luck and keep us updated.

    [This message has been edited by fireman116 (edited October 11, 1999).]

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My department is all volunteer. We cover 29 square miles and have approx 12,000 residents. I was mainly curious regarding call volume. If I can come back with some figures regarding this, then perhaps I can justify asking the District to hire dispatchers.

  4. #4
    Phil C
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Question, if you go to paid dispatchers, who answers your 9-1-1 calls?? will the county and if so how do you get the call to your dispatcher??. Your call volume justifes it, i work for a dept that dispacthes two towns whose total runs(just fire) is only 4,000. you'd have to determine the shifts but the shorter the shift the more guys you'd need. we only have four full timers who work two 10 hr days than two 14 hr nights followed by four days off(you need to give them time off, they can't work 24/7). you'd have to figure out pay rates as well, are they salaried or hourly, but the better you pay, the better the dispacher you'll attract. also what lvel of training will they need to have and is the dept willing to pay the cost to train them if they don't have it?? god luck and GO FOR the paid dispathers it does make a diffrence.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    i work as a paid dispatcher for a ful time/part time fire district that has approx. the same amount of fire/ems calls as you handle, we have 4 paid dispatchers, we work 8 hour shifts, with 2 days off our 4th dispatcher is a swing shift he works the days off, we have 1 scheduled day of overtime every week, it is covered on a rotational basis, each one taking a day, our base pay fr new hires is $8.50 per hour, after 1 year the pay increases to $10.72 per hour, we get 1 week vacation after the first 6 mo, and a second week after a year, after 5 years we get 3 weeks, and so on. we are also able to transfer any service time from another dept. or agency, like our 1st shift dispatcher gets 6 weeks vacation because she came with 20 years expierence. you may need to look at your run times and see when the most calls come in and work it that way.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am a Fire/EMS/Police Dispatcher in New york State.Your call Volume justifies a dispatcher but a few Questions.
    1. Who controls your units when you are sounded by E911?
    2. How many people do you have responding?
    3. Are you a Fire District or Fire dept?
    4. Can your local PD help you with dispatch?
    Okay the first three you need to answear so i can give advice.
    The Fourth here is my reason for the question.. I currnetly work for a Police dept in new york that is able to dispatch 5 FD's The town ambulance and the Police Dept. We are 24/7 days a week for all of them.. We are also a PSAP for are 911 center so sometimes we get calls second had in stead of dialed into are 7 digit numbers. we start at 11.50 and hour get 3.5% yearly and get one week vacation after 6 months.. 2 weeks after a Year. we also get 12 sick days a year and 3 personal days plus Triple time for any holiday we work. If we do not work the Holiday we get 8 hours Holiday pay. If your fire department cannot afford investing that type of money into a Full time dispatch,maybe you can share with the local pd as in the town i work for.

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