1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,708

    Default All Hazard Dispatch Centers

    Hi,

    I am looking for anything you folks may have regarding dispatch roles and responsibilities. We have a dispatch center that dispatches for 4 rural counties and for all diciplines (Law, fire, EMS, etc... all of them).

    I am trying to define more clearly what the roles, responsibilities, and such are for a dispatch center like ours.

    Does anybody have a general definition for what a dispatch center is?

    Does anybody have any good mission statements for dispatch centers and dispatchers?

    What do you expect from your dispatch?

    What are realistic expectations?

    It comes back to a recent incident where one of our Law Deputies told dispatch that their "job" was to "listen to what we tell you to do."

    That didnt seem to fit the description of a all hazard dispatch center to me.

    So, what I am looking to do is DEFINE what exactly the "JOB" of a dispatch center is.

    Any insights and comments you have are welcome!

    Thanks a bunch!
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90

    Default Dispatch Centers

    First of all realize that "dispatcher" is a term that is tossed around quite a bit, and the meaning, and job responsabilities change from geographic area to area. In theory, and coming from the Northeast part of the country a dispatcher, communications technician, radio operator, call taker whatever it is that you call them have a couple of main purposes:

    1. Recieve, Prioritize, and dispatch emergency, and non-emergency requests for assitance.

    2. Coordinate an allied response whether it be Police/Fire/EMS

    3. Work with all responders to make sure they have the resources needed for the particular call i.e. additional ambulances, additional apparatus, K9 units, Air Support, whatever is needed.

    4. They are also responsible for "officer Safety" which I actually train my people to be responsible for "responder safety" this means checking officers on high risk calls to make sure they are all set, or checking with fire officers, and EMS personell to make sure they are all set as well.

    Dispatchers do many things, and are very much an integral part of the first responder team, some even say they are the "first" first responders, and "first on scene"

    Jon
    Communications Trainer

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    36

    Default

    In our county, we are dispatched through the Sheriff's office. Our problem is that the HCSO communications center is a law enforcement dispatch office. The dispatchers are not trained in the discipline of fire communications. This leads to many problems, first of which is affording the fire personnel enough credibility to answer when they are called on the radio. Our dispatchers would rather (taken from first hand experience) run officers' requests for 28's, 29', and 27's than tone a request for mutual aid on a working fire. What's worse is that on a working fire a few mos. back, a FF was injured and IC requested EMS on scene. Dispatch requested the address that THEY had toned us out on. Naturally, once we're on scene, we've put the address out of our mind for the most part. We begin working the scene. IC had to walk nearly 100 yards up the gravel drive to find the address on the mailbox BEFORE they would roll a box to our location. Yes, dispatchers do many things, and when they do them wrong, which is usually the rule rather than the exception, it's very palpable. It would absolutely floor me if our dispatch EVER called to check status on one of us. I would have thought that it would be a requirement for communications people to be trained in LE, FF, EMS. I suppose that is expecting too much for $20,000 a year.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Watertown, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default

    When it comes to dispatch there are two main words that come to mind and that is "customer service". There is a little twist to that though. When a unit responds to a call they basically have one customer and that is the patient ( or complaintant for law enforcement ). The dispatcher has two sets of customers, the public and the responders. The expectations of a dispatcher should be to adaquately serve their "customers".

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,708

    Default

    Thank folks, keep the comments coming!

    Does anybody have an exaple of a misison statement from a dispatch center?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ramseycl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Next to the big ditch
    Posts
    489

    Default

    Hope this helps. Kind of long winded, but here is out Mission/Values Statement:

    The Durango~La Plata County E911 Communications Center is dedicated to provide public safety communication services to its member agencies and their citizens. We are dedicated to maintain a helpful, friendly attitude at all times and to relay the most accurate information possible. To this end, the Center is committed to the following values:

    Requests for service (inquires, referrals, public safety responses) are handled promptly and decisively. Programs and projects are planned, researched, approved and implemented expeditiously and accurately.

    Learning the citizenís preferences and attending to them. Emphasizing a firm commitment to listening and remaining close to the needs and wants of the centers community; its member agencies, their personnel and the citizens they serve. Maintaining an atmosphere of customer orientations to constantly strive for excellence in service quality.

    Breaking the organization into small groups and encouraging them to think independently and creatively. Programs and projects of consequence are planned, researched, and implemented by the board, advisory board and standing committees and the centers staff group.

    Creating in all employees the awareness that their best efforts are essential and that they will share in the rewards of the organizations success.

    Insisting that administrators and supervisors keep in touch with the essence of the organizations business.

    Few administrative layers, few people at the upper levels, supervisors and administrators serving as facilitators and coaches charged with empowering employees with a wide range of decision making authority and developing each individuals maximum potential.

    Fostering a climate where there is universal dedication to the mission and operations of the center combined with the encouragement for autonomy, entrepreneurship and innovation.
    "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all"

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    MrJim911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    225

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by direvindex
    Yes, dispatchers do many things, and when they do them wrong, which is usually the rule rather than the exception, it's very palpable.
    Let's clarify that your talking about YOUR own dispatch center, and not dispatchers in general. Unless you accidentally said that backwards, because the way it's written it's a completely false broad statement.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    36

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrJim911
    Let's clarify that your talking about YOUR own dispatch center, and not dispatchers in general. Unless you accidentally said that backwards, because the way it's written it's a completely false broad statement.

    Excuse me if I sounded "broad". Yes, I am speaking MAINLY of my own dispatch center; however, I did mean what I said by how palpable it is when comm gets it wrong. Sorry about the confusion. It shouldn't have been difficult to tell that I was a bit hot under the collar when I wrote that!

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SamsonFCDES
    Does anybody have a general definition for what a dispatch center is?
    A dispatch center is where stuff gets dispatched from.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamsonFCDES
    Does anybody have any good mission statements for dispatch centers and dispatchers?
    A Dispatch center's mission is to provide the first line of communication between the public and emergency services, and to support the personnel in the field
    Quote Originally Posted by SamsonFCDES
    It comes back to a recent incident where one of our Law Deputies told dispatch that their "job" was to "listen to what we tell you to do."
    actually, a dispatcher's job is much more than to just listen to what they are told to do. they do need to, but they also need to coordinate resources, act as a liason between the public and the responding agency, and act as the first emergency services professional that a caller deals with when they are having an emergency.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamsonFCDES


    That didnt seem to fit the description of a all hazard dispatch center to me.

    So, what I am looking to do is DEFINE what exactly the "JOB" of a dispatch center is.

    Any insights and comments you have are welcome!

    Thanks a bunch!
    Assuming we are on the same page, a dispatch center's job is to dispatch. they send units where they need to go, they keep track of all the units on the road, they coordinate interagency operation, and they keep field units apprised of important information that they will need for their operations.

    Dispatching is not as easy as many field personnel think. on a slow day, sure, even my little brother could do it. but when all hell breaks loose, I'd rather be out in the field then inside chained to the desk. At least in the field, I only have to deal with one emergency at a time, but a dispatcher has to deal with 5-10+ seperate different emergencies simultaniously, and that's not including those that have occured that have no units available for.

    One thing both sides need to realize (and this is the same with ER Staff and EMS personnel) is that both sides have hectic jobs, and both sides think the other side is a bunch of idiots. field crew "That stupid dispatcher sent me to the wrong location, got poor information about the cal, and never acknowledges when I call." Dispatcher "That stupid fire chief/amblance crew/cop went to the wrong location/I can only pass along what I am told/ and I'm busying doing 15 things, he will have to wait his turn for me to get back to him. and while he's responding to the chest pains call, I have to dispatch ALS, a first responding PD or FD unit, and I've got a motor vehicle crash to deal with, where I don't konw if there are any injuries, and an automatic burgler alarm just came in at the local bank. and I really need to pee, and there is no one who can watch the desk while I go, so I got to wait."

    I don't know if this helps, but good luck.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  10. #10
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Thumbs up Yeah, Got That Right!.........

    Quote Originally Posted by spurs716
    When it comes to dispatch there are two main words that come to mind and that is "customer service". There is a little twist to that though. When a unit responds to a call they basically have one customer and that is the patient ( or complaintant for law enforcement ). The dispatcher has two sets of customers, the public and the responders. The expectations of a dispatcher should be to adaquately serve their "customers".
    EXACTLY! And there is no difference whether it's your County (Wilson, with about 80,000 people) or mine (Prince Georges, with well over 800,000 people) They should be doing the same QUALITY of work.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Trumbull, CT
    Posts
    25

    Default Take a tour

    The best way to gain an understanding of a dispatcher and the dispatch center is to see it happen. I would assume if you are member of a department the center services there won't be much of a problem with you sitting in for an hour or two. (My center likes visitors from our services)

    Watch them work. You can see the information gathering (caller interogation) process, dispatching, pre-arrival instructions, communication and record keeping functions. You will get a better understanding seeing first hand than from any written response here.

    If it was up to me, all field personnel would have to sit in dispatch during training. Likewise, all dispatchers should have some time in the field. It would help both sides work together more efficiently.

  12. #12
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Smile Yep!.........

    RDog raises some very good points. I've spent some time in dispatch myself, and you can learn a whole lot in a short time. One thing I learned in about 90 seconds is just because the radio is quiet, the dispatchers aren't relaxing. A huge amount of stuff is being done with very few radio transmissions. "They aren't talking, so they aren't busy" is NOT a rule of thumb.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. SOP's for Volunteer FD
    By rumlfire in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 08-01-2006, 10:35 PM
  2. Dispatch Roles and Responsibilities
    By SamsonFCDES in forum Emergency Services Dispatcher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-18-2006, 06:49 PM
  3. Tight budget? Letís get rid of dispatch!
    By ffexpCP in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-12-2004, 02:57 PM
  4. Thermal Imaging SOG's
    By wtfd92 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 06-27-2001, 08:41 PM
  5. Combined dispatch centers
    By Steamer in forum Emergency Services Dispatcher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-22-2000, 04:33 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register