Initial 9-1-1 Call Processing
When a citizen dials 9-1-1 in North America, the phone is answered by an Emergency Communicator. This person is working for the CERB (Central Emergency Response Bureau), also known as the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point.) These CERBs or PSAPs are often operated at the regional police department.
Typically, this operator will answer the line with an identifying phrase and directory question such as, “9-1-1. Do you require police, fire or ambulance?” Based on the caller’s response, the operator will transfer the call to the appropriate dispatch service. In some areas, one agency will act as the CERB and dispatch police, fire and ambulance. In other areas, there are separate dispatch centres for each emergency agency.
When applying for positions as an Emergency Dispatcher, keep in mind that there are likely 3 separate dispatch centres (police, fire and ambulance) for each area. Check out the free job board at 9-1-1 Professor for opportunities.
There are many different titles for Emergency Communicators. The career who's main objective is to answer 9-1-1 and emergency phone calls may be referred to as: