1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Need Information Urgent!

    I am a college student at the University of Pittsburgh and I have an assignment for my Newspaper class where I have to write an article based on an interesting profession. I have chosen 911 dispatcher as my topic. If you could please answer the following questions:

    Residence (City State)
    # yrs dispatcher
    Why did you get involved in dispatching?
    What would you tell someone considering being a dispatcher?
    What is the hardest part about your job?
    What is the most memorable call you have taken?
    Are you involved in any other emergency services?

    If you could answer these questions and provide any information that you feel may be pertinent I would appreciate it.

    Thank you very much,
    Jonathan Anschutz
    Fire Police Capt.
    Parker City VFD

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Age - 24
    # yrs dispatcher - 2

    Why did you get involved in dispatching?
    -I was a firefighter looking for a part-time job to support my income. Emergency Dispatching was something that had intrigued me for years. When I saw an opening posted for a large suburb of Cleveland, OH, I applied for it, and was hired from 25 other candidates.

    What would you tell someone considering being a dispatcher?
    -Be prepared for periods of total mayhem, or total boredom. A background in in the fire service or law enforcement really helps too.

    What is the hardest part about your job?
    -The hardest part is dealing with ignorant people on the phones that want things done their way, right away; not understanding or caring that there is a reason things are done the way they are (usaually because its the law).

    What is the most memorable call you have taken?
    -Being a paramedic, I am expected to help assist callers over the phone in emergency care until responders arrive, and on Christmas Day, 1998, I had 2 full arrests with my 8 hour shift. I gave CPR instructions to both. One survived, and unfortunately the other did not.

    Are you involved in any other emergency services?
    -I am a Senior Firefighter/Paramedic in a suburb of Cleveland.

    **Note--I no longer dispatch because of the demands with my primary job as a firefighter.

    [This message has been edited by dch419 (edited February 07, 2000).]

  3. #3
    Phil C
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Age - 35
    # years as dispatcher - 10
    Why did I get involved in dispatching?
    The department I currently work for hires their Firefighters from the volunteers in that town, there was an opening and I took the test, I didn't finish as the 1st guy and while we were waiting for the firefighter job to open, a dispatcher job opened, the money was good and I thought that I'd get a firefighter job quicker(I was wrong), so I took the job.

    What would you tell someone considering being a dispatcher?
    As dch419 stated be ready for periods of total mayhem, or total boredom as well as having some sort of firefighting, police or ems experience, it REALLY helps. also if you are a type who looks for alot of pats on the back, or attay boys, STAY AWAY!!!, generally the only pats on the back you'll get are from yourself, for knowing you did a good job or, from the field people you assisted. To the public you are only the voice on the phone.

    What is the hardest part of your job?
    The abuse you take in the media when that one dispather messes up a call and the public finds out and plays it up to the hilt. We handle how many million calls per year and how many of those save a life, bring life into the world, etc... yet how often do you hear of those???? also the general public lack of knowledge of the 9-1-1 system as a whole. Joebob is lost and needs directions, rather than ask someone, they call 9-1-1 and when they get a recording that tells them that 9-1-1 is for LIFE threatening emergencies, they get miffed and say we didn't provide a service to him, HE had an emergency because he was lost.

    What is the most memorable call you have taken?
    A few stay with me, one of the first calls i took started with someone screaming, and eventually a coller head got on the phone and told me that they had a fire in the house, while no big deal now, I had only been on the job for a short time and had just been put on a shift solo. also i was involved with a police chase that ended with both the officer and the suspect being killed. while i didn't take the call i was involved with the radio traffic, that one still hurts.

    Are you involved in any other emrgency services?
    Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment and currently am a volunteer firefighter with the local fire dept. and am an emt-d with the local emergency squad.

    Good luck with the class, hope these answers help.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    residence:Eau Claire, WI
    # yrs. dispatcher - 2

    Why did you get involved in dispatching?
    It was by accident really. I had a couple of friends that worked in dispatch. One here where I work now and another that used to work for the State Patrol at that time. They said I should apply and that I would be good at it. I turned in the application in on the last day and took the tests. I scored high on the written test and high on the practical test and did good in the interviews. I guess I found something that I'm good at.

    What would I tell someone considering being a dispatcher?
    I would tell them to have good speaking and typing skills. Also be prepared to experience long periods of boredom interupted by moments of total chaos. A backround in law enforcement, fire, or ems is good to have. One thing I found is that experience on the other end of the radio is great because I know what information they are looking for and understand what they are going through as well.

    What is the hardest part of my job?
    the hardest part of the job is not to tell off the next person who calls 911 for directions. Seriously, to answer 911 and give CPR instructions for 20 min. until the ambulance gets there and then answering the next non-emergency call from an old woman about a car blocking her driveway so she can't go to bingo. Handling stress is key.

    What is the most memorable call I have handled?
    I was talking to a guy who wanted to ask if it had to be a spouse to identify a body or could it be anyone else. To make a long story short, after talking to him for a bit he said he wanted to shoot himself but didn't want his wife to see him. After sending deputies on the way I talked to him for a long while then he just hung up. Deputies found him behind the barn with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. That was shortly after I was let go solo but everytime I take a suicide threat case I remember that call.

    Are you involved in any other emergency services?
    Yes I am. I am a Lieutenant on the Altoona Fire Dept. and also work part-time for Osseo Area Ambulance as an EMT-D. I'm also working on getting my Fire Service Instructor's certication so I can teach at the local technical college.

    You can check out the Eau Claire Communications Center web page at www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us and click on the Departments link.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Lt. Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

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