HOLBROOK – As part of National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week, Director Steve Hooke and the Holbrook Regional Emergency Communication Center (HRECC) would like to present a series of informational messages to help teach the public about what the members of the HRECC do on a daily basis, including more about the staff who work there and their varied responsibilities.
Every year during the second week of April, dispatchers and telecommunications personnel in the public safety community are honored as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week. This week-long event, which first began in 1981 by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, has grown into a nationwide celebration to recognize and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public as telecommunicators.
This year, National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week 2020 takes place from April 12-18.
“Every year we find different ways to honor and support our staff during National Pubic Safety Telecommunicator Week,” Director Hooke said. “This year will be a little different given the ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis. Our dispatchers are the first first responders and have been working extremely hard since the onset of the pandemic here locally. This week we want to give thanks to them and all of the hard work they do throughout the year.”
Each day this week, the HRECC will present a different question and answer to highlight the vital role its staff members play in the communities the HRECC serves.
Question: What sort of training does an HRECC telecommunicator receive?
A telecommunicator (or dispatcher) at the HRECC must first successfully pass an interview process and background check. They are then brought into the dispatch center for an eight-hour orientation.
Employees are paired up with one of the HRECCs five Certified Telecommunications Officers (CTOs) on staff, who are tasked with training and monitoring employee progression throughout the duration of their training period.
Trainees must complete 92 hours of state-mandated training prior to the end of their training period, in addition to on-the-job training and shadowing existing staff members during the course of their duties.
Each telecommunicator completes 300 hours of training prior to being cleared to work without the presence of a CTO.
A Daily Observation Report (DOR) is completed by the CTO for the trainee prior to the end of each training session. The DOR is completed and graded based on the HRECCs Standardized Evaluation Guidelines (SEGs) in order to promote consistency among performance ratings.
The feedback on this document is then reviewed with, and acknowledged by, the trainee.
“Trainees must have a willingness to learn, the ability to listen and pay attention to detail, the ability to multi-task, have a positive outlook and realize that every day will bring a different set of challenges and that none are the same,” HRECC Deputy Director of Communications Lauren Mielke said. “Every member of our team brings different qualities to the table, from those with police, fire and EMS backgrounds, customer service experience, or people with no relative experience who are simply willing to work hard and learn from the ground up.”
Various topics covered during training include interpersonal communications skills, telephone communications techniques, introduction to new 911 technology, Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and related technologies, radio communications techniques, introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS), liability issues, APCO Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) and more.
Each telecommunicator also undergoes hands-on equipment training of the NexGen911 system.
“We take great pride in the rigorous training our telecommunicators receive,” Director Hooke said. “Knowing how to react in a variety of situations, staying calm under pressure and being proficient in the most up-to-date technologies in the field are all skills that can prove to be life-saving in the day-to-day operation of a telecommunicator.”
Anyone interested in joining the HRECC as a telecommunicator should contact Director Steve Hooke at 781-767-6461 or [email protected]