Modern computer technology allows Communications Officers to get that help rolling while getting additional information from callers. Troopers, firefighters and paramedics can all be dispatched by other operators, while the call-taker enters information into a computer screen.
Part of sending the right help also means not wasting resources by sending unnecessary responders. Layhew cited a common problem with callers who report collisions.
“It’s worth taking time to ask a caller if someone is injured,” Layhew said. “If we send paramedics to a non-injury collision, those paramedics are unavailable should someone else in the community have a heart attack.”
If a crime is involved, dispatchers will also want a description of the fleeing person or vehicle and a direction of travel. Dispatchers will also ask for your name, and call back number. That’s in case troopers have trouble finding the exact location.
Bottom line: answering the dispatcher’s questions gives them the best opportunity to help you.
The Washington State Patrol is hiring Communications Officers. More information on WSP’s Communications Division can be found at: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/employment/communications.htm.
9-1-1 DISPATCHERS, America’s First Responders.