Telecommunicators & Training
911 professionals, also referred to as “dispatchers” or “call takers,” are often the first trained point of contact in an emergency. They begin the important work of obtaining essential information, remaining calm, calming others, and sending the appropriate responders to the right location. They may also provide instructions to the 911 caller, which in many cases is essential to stabilizing or saving a life.
Throughout the nation, 911 call centers or public safety answering points (PSAPs) are managed by a variety of local and state agencies, including law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, and private EMS companies. This varied governance produces a unique challenge for training telecommunicators, as each agency may have its own educational standards.
Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs). Managers and supervisors may also be certified as emergency number professionals (ENPs) or certified public-safety executives (CPEs).
The National 911 Program supports the work of the 911 community to provide training strategies for telecommunicators and has previously convened a working group of 911 associations to develop recommended minimum training guidelines for telecommunicators.