How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Huntsville, Alabama

In the city of Huntsville, Alabama, 911 dispatchers are more commonly referred to as  public safety dispatchers. As a public safety dispatcher you are considered to be apart of a valuable team of clerical and administrative support staff working directly for the city to help dispatch emergency service teams to the appropriate locations. Emergency service teams such as police, fire and medical services help to ensure the safety and care of the city’s citizens, and public safety dispatchers are vital to supporting their efforts.

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In order to apply for the position of a public safety dispatch operator in Huntsville, there are certain requirements and steps to follow. These steps include:

Meet Education and Job Qualifications
Apply for the Position
On-the-Job Training and Skills Development
Seek Additional Certification



Step 1. Meet Education and Job Qualifications

The city of Huntsville, Alabama requires applicants to meet minimum education, training and experience requirements. These requirements include:

  • Successful graduation from high school
  • Experience in operating communication equipment and basic computer systems
  • Education, training or experience that demonstrates the ability and skills necessary to be a successful public safety dispatch operator. (See Step 3 for Skills)
  • Current Alabama Driver’s license



Step 2: Apply for a Position in Huntsville

If you would like to inquire or apply for public safety dispatch operator positions, you may submit a job interest card to their Human Resources department via their website. In addition, telephone and other general inquires can be made to The Huntsville Police Department located at 815 Wheeler Avenue, (256)427-7043.



Step 3. On-the-Job Training and Skills Development

As a public safety dispatch operator in Huntsville you will be working in an environment that receives and dispatches accurate information to the appropriate emergency service personnel. The position requires fast, accurate, and efficient dispatching skills. If you are hired on you will initially complete program in which you will be provided with classroom and hands on training.

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Many of the skills necessary to perform the job are acquired during your training period. These include:

  • Receiving and prioritizing complains, and calls from the public that are concerned with fire, crime and medical emergencies
  • Asking questions of the caller to help determine their problem
  • Entering information into the CAD system and verifying the callers location and the appropriate responders for their situation
  • Dispatching personnel and other equipment to the scene of the caller’s emergency while keeping in contact with the caller by phone
  • Broadcasting orders to police and various other emergency service providers in the vicinity of the caller to investigate the nature of their complaints.
  • Maintaining a log of all recorded radio transmissions, the time, duration and messages received by the callers
  • Relaying general information to the public, and referring callers to the appropriate offices
  • Performing background searches and historical data review in order to help safeguard the emergency responders personnel and citizens
  • Using a large variety of resource materials to help aid all emergency services dispatched

In addition to the above mentioned actions, you will learn how to complete secondary functions of the job position. These functions include:

  • Entering reports for all monthly computer statements
  • Providing pre-arrival instructions for all emergency service departments
  • The ability to provide on the job training for any new employees
  • Filling out reports for any radio and computer problems
  • Relaying administration messages

Additional skills needed to work as a public safety dispatch operator include:

  • The knowledge of names, and locations of streets and public buildings in the city of Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Knowledge about the types, general uses and man-power requirements of the firefighting equipment
  • The ability to use the CAD system, the digital answering telephone system, VHF radio system and all necessary software
  • Ability to act quickly in the moment and to stay calm under stress
  • Knowledge of all FCC regulations and rules
  • Ability to type at least 35 mpm
  • Ability to speak clearly using good dictation


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Step 4: Seek Additional Certification

As a public safety dispatch operator you can seek additional certification in Emergency Medical dispatch and CPR. This will allow you to become qualified to walk callers through any necessary CPR or medical intervention before emergency services arrive on scene. All emergency medical dispatch trainees will be required to meet the National Standard Curriculum as it is outlined through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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