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Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers - 43-5031.00

O*NET-SOC Description

Operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receive reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relay information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • 911 Dispatcher
  • Communications Officer
  • Communications Operator
  • Communications Specialist
  • Communications Supervisor
  • Dispatcher
  • Emergency Communications Operator (ECO)
  • Police Dispatcher
  • Public Safety Dispatcher
  • Telecommunicator

SOC Occupation Groups

Related Occupations


  • Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies.
  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
  • Learn material and pass required tests for certification.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls, such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies, such as fires and illegal entry into establishments.
  • Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations.
  • Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment.
  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
  • Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
  • Receive incoming telephone or alarm system calls regarding emergency and non-emergency police and fire service, emergency ambulance service, information, and after-hours calls for departments within a city.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Adjust office equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information.
  • Confer with coworkers to coordinate work activities.
  • Coordinate operational activities.
  • Discuss goods or services information with customers or patrons.
  • Enter information into databases or software programs.
  • Maintain call records.
  • Maintain current knowledge related to work activities.
  • Maintain security.
  • Monitor alarm systems.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
  • Operate communications equipment or systems.
  • Operate vehicles or material-moving equipment.
  • Refer customers to appropriate personnel.
  • Relay information between personnel.
  • Report maintenance or equipment problems to appropriate personnel.
  • Search files, databases or reference materials to obtain needed information.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Field Artillery Cannoneer (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Field Radio Operator (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Fire Protection Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Firefighter (Army - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Apprentice, Combat Arms (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Apprentice, Military Working Dog Handler (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Helper, Combat Arms (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Helper, Military Working Dog Handler (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Journeyman, Combat Arms (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Journeyman, Military Working Dog Handler (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Security Forces Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Vehicle Operations Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • Alarm Operator
  • Telecommunicator

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Alarm Operator
  • Dispatcher, Radio
  • Protective-Signal Operator
  • Telecommunicator