New Hampshire’s Public Safety Answering Point in Concord, the epicenter off the state’s 911 emergency communications, receives about 2,000 telephone calls each day.
Emergency communications in the State of New Hampshire are handled by the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Emergency Services and Communications, which runs the State of New Hampshire’s Enhanced 911 Public Safety Answering Point.
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911 dispatchers are responsible for handling all calls coming into the 911 Public Safety Answering Point, a statewide system that serves to transfer callers to the appropriate local emergency dispatch center.
The Division of Emergency Services and Communications, Bureau of Emergency Communications is a nationally accredited 911 center that serves as the “communications link between the public and public safety agencies.” The state’s enhanced 911 Commission was established in 1992 and is made up of representatives of 16 organizations. Members of the Commission set policy for the Bureau of Emergency Communications.
In addition to working as a 911 dispatcher for the State of New Hampshire’s Enhanced 911 Public Safety Answering Point, 911 dispatchers work for any number of local public safety agencies. Some of the largest employers of emergency dispatchers in the state are found within the state’s largest cities:
- Manchester Police Department
- Nashua Police Department
- Concord Police Department
- Derry Village Police Department
Preparing for a Career in New Hampshire’s Emergency Dispatch Centers
911 dispatchers in New Hampshire, also referred to as telecommunications specialists, are responsible for operating the state-wide emergency telecommunications system.
These 911 operators receive requests for emergency services, which include police, fire and emergency medical assistance, and forward them to the appropriate local dispatcher. These professionals also may need to provide life support instructions pending the arrival of the necessary medical or emergency personnel.
To qualify for the position of a 911 dispatcher with the State of New Hampshire, individuals must possess a high school diploma or GED, as well as at least 5 years of experience in a service-oriented position, such as a paramedic, emergency medical technician, dispatcher, law enforcement, teacher, customer service representative, or firefighter.
However, each year of education through a formal program beyond a high school diploma may be substituted for one year of required work experience. It is quite commonplace for individuals in this field to pursue formal college degree programs in fields such as:
- Public Safety
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Criminal Justice
- Computer Science
For example, there are a number of degree programs in public safety, many of which are either 2-year of 4-year programs. Public safety degrees are often designed to cover topics that are quite relevant to the 911 dispatcher profession
- Homeland security
- Business management
- Effective communication
- Ethics in the justice system
- Public administration
- Organizational behavior
- Disaster preparedness
- State and local government operations
Before individuals can be considered for appointment as a 911 dispatcher, they must be able to successfully pass a written examination that assesses their knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform this job. Further, the Bureau may require candidates to pass a hearing test, a controlled substance screening, a job compatibility profile, and an interview panel.
911 Operator Training in New Hampshire
New candidates who want to learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in New Hampshire must be able to obtain certification as an Emergency Medical Dispatch within 90 days of hire. Certification as an Emergency Medical Dispatch involves the completion of a training unit that includes three, 16-week classes.
All current 911 dispatchers must complete required monthly continued education classes, a bi-annual CPR certification, a monthly, 40-hour Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) certification program (for all public safety agencies), and a 30-minute presentation that is held at the NH Police Standards and Training Academy.
Training topics covered in the Emergency Medical Dispatch initial training program include:
- Advanced First Aid/CPR/AED
- Basic Telecommunications
- Critical Incident Stress
- Domestic Violence
- Emergency Medical Dispatch
- Hazardous Materials
- New Hampshire Geography
- Role Plating
- Suicide Intervention
- TTY Training
911 operators in New Hampshire may become members of the New Hampshire Emergency Dispatch Association to stay current on topics and discussions involving the 911 dispatcher profession.