In Delaware, 911 dispatchers are referred to as Telecommunications Specialists. The Delaware State Police is in charge of the state’s three 911 Public Safety Answering Points and its Headquarters Communications Center. Three divisions, Recom (New Castle County) Kentcom (Kent County) and Suscom (Sussex County) plus HQ make up the Communications Section of the Delaware State Police. As of 2013, 96 people are employed in this section across the state of Delaware.
Required Education for 911 Dispatchers in Delaware
The Delaware State Police requires 911 dispatcher job candidates to have completed coursework in data entry or typing. However, education beyond this level is very helpful to prospective 911 dispatchers in Delaware. Degrees such as these can be beneficial to persons looking to become a 911 operator in Delaware:
- Associate of Science in Information Technology
- Associate of Science in Network Systems Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
The Delaware State Police hires qualified civilians to work as 911 dispatchers across the state. Before hiring, however, every applicant must pass a computerized pre-employment examination. This examination is designed to test the applicant’s abilities to make decisions under structured rules and under pressure, as scenarios are presented and the applicant must know whether to dispatch police, fire, EMS (emergency medical service) or public utility responders to the scene.
In addition to holding the right education and passing the pre-employment exam, those who wish to become 911 dispatchers in Delaware must:
- Pass a thorough criminal background check
- Be able to work day or night shift and holidays
- Have a clear speaking voice
- Have good listening skills
Required Training for 911 Dispatchers in Delaware
New 911 dispatchers in Delaware must undergo mandatory training through the Delaware State Police. Delaware’s 911 dispatcher training has been recognized by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) as meeting or exceeding its minimum training standards. The training program lasts five to seven months and consists of lecture and self-study courses.
Depending upon one’s job assignment, one might also have to become certified in one or more dispatch specialties. For example, a recent job posting for 911 dispatchers in Delaware noted that those who were assigned to Sussex County (Suscom) and Kent County (Kentcom) must become certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), and those assigned to Kentcom also had to become certified in Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD). These certifications are provided by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and consist of:
- EMD Certification Course: lasts for three days, includes Medical Priority’s EMD Course Manual, Principles of Emergency Medical Dispatch reference textbook, ProQA software, and the Advanced MPDS Card Sets. EMD certification also requires a 911 dispatcher to become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) through the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or the National Safety Council. At the end of the course, all students must pass a 50-question certification exam with a score of 80 percent or better. Registration for the EMD Course is done through Priority Dispatch. The closest training facilities to Delaware in 2013-2014 are:
- Jersey City, NJ
- Bowie, MD
- Frederick, MD
- EFD Certification Course: this course involves both classroom and hands-on training, along with simulated and actual calls. At the end of the course, all students must pass a 50-question certification exam with a score of 80 percent or better. Registration for the EMD Course is done through Dispatch. The closest training facilities to Delaware for 2013-14 are:
- Bowie, MD
- Frederick, MD
Certification for both of these lasts two years. Every two years, all EMDs and EFDs must complete 24 hours of Continuing Dispatch Education (CDE) approved by IAED to maintain certification(s).