Publication Date

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Public Administration

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


Regional dispatch, Communications Center, 9-1-1 Dispatch Center


Dispatch centers serve multiple functions within a community, dependent on the resources it controls. Centers operating in PC function as the primary 911 answering point, using “call-takers” and “dispatchers” to triage emergencies and respond the appropriate resources. Call-takers are trained personnel who are hired to answer 911 calls from the community, and input valuable information into a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, that geolocates the emergency location and provides historical information of emergencies at a given location. Many call-takers are trained to provide instructions to the caller to ensure that they are 1) out of harm's way and 2) to assist in providing care to the ill or injured person before the arrival of first responders. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) acknowledges the importance of these actions, and believes that “all EMS-related [dispatch centers] should incorporate an organized system of initial education, and continuous quality improvement for an evidence-based system of pre-EMS arrival medical aid instructions, approved by the [dispatch center] physician medical director(s)” (Annals of Emergency Medicine, 2018, p. 1).

Call-takers also communicate directly with dispatchers to provide current and relevant information that can be transmitted to first responders during an emergency response. Unlike call-takers, dispatchers communicate directly with first responders in the field. They are responsible for sending the closest, most appropriate resource to the scene of an emergency. dispatchers are also tasked with maintaining accountability of resources to 1) ensure that there 10 are available resources for response and 2) to make sure responders are safe and to provide them with additional resources as requested. The dispatch centers in PC that dispatch fire resources are each staffed with call-takers and dispatchers who answer 911 calls for service and dispatch the closest appropriate resource. Many of the dispatch centers in PC have call-takers and dispatchers who function as a single person, required to multitask between the caller and responders. The work required by these dispatchers is difficult to measure when compared to centers that provide single role call-takers and dispatchers.