MEDFORD, Ore. – On the 911 tapes of a White City man shooting and killing an intruder, first heard on NewsWatch 12 on Thursday, there is a lot of chaos, but you can also hear the dispatcher’s ability to stay calm and help calm those on the other end of the line.
Those graphic 911 tapes helped prove the man was justified in shooting that intruder. What’s heard on the tapes is also what officials say serves as an example of the crucial role dispatchers play in emergencies. At ‘Emergency Communications Of Southern Oregon last year, dispatchers handled 243 emergency 911 calls per day, but before picking up any phone, dispatchers must go through an extensive training process.
Dispatchers begin their 9-month training period in a classroom academy-type setting. They then spend the next 8 months taking an increasing number of calls, supervised by a communications training officer. They cover call handling techniques, technical equipment and prioritizing each 911 and non-emergency call.
Dispatchers are tested throughout their training and take one last comprehensive test before being released to the phones. This test includes a written exam and practical test scenario exam. In order to stay clam in a medical emergency, dispatchers use a medical priority dispatch system that helps in things like giving instructions on how to do CPR, or clear an air way on someone who is choking.