9-1-1 Emergency: Are Operators Ready for Your Call?
On January 7, 2010, NBC's Today Show aired a feature investigating 9-1-1 issues related to hiring, training and supervision of 9-1-1 employees throughout the nation. Deficiencies were found in some communities.
I want you to know that when you call 9-1-1 in Multnomah County, our staff at the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) is well prepared to help you. They have been trained to rigorous standards and will immediately prompt callers with instructions on how to help someone with a medical emergency, including first aid and CPR, until professional providers dispatched by BOEC arrive at the scene of the emergency.
There are 123 certified call takers, dispatchers, and front-line supervisors at BOEC who answer your 9-1-1 calls. With an average of 11 years' experience, they are career professionals who are highly skilled and ready to handle your requests for police, fire or medical assistance. While the call taker continues to talk with the caller, information about the problem is assessed by dispatchers who assign the appropriate responder to the location needed.
BOEC trainees must complete a nine-month training program which includes first aid and CPR. In addition, BOEC utilizes best practices identified by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International. Oregon is a leader in this industry, being the first State in the nation to require standards for 9-1-1 Telecommunicators and Emergency Medical Dispatchers. The state requires that Certified Telecommunicators/Emergency Medical Dispatchers receive continual ongoing training. This includes at least 12 hours of Telecommunicator and 4 hours of Emergency Medical Dispatcher continuing education each year to maintain certifications.
BOEC provides both required and self-study Continuing Education Modules for employees. The integrity of operations is ensured through direct supervision of employees and continual monitoring of daily activities by supervisors and lead workers. The BOEC Quality Assurance Program includes supervisors conducting monthly call reviews as well as annual reviews, for each employee, in addition to monitoring daily activity. The Management Team, with the assistance of a variety of topic-specific committees, continually works to ensure we are leaders in the industry, employing the best technology and best practices.
I am extremely proud of the work that BOEC employees perform 7 days every week, 24-hours every day, providing the vital link between each caller and public safety responders. Our team works hard to ensure not only that your emergency call is answered promptly, but also that accurate instructions and assistance are given even as appropriate responders are dispatched quickly to the location where needed. We take care of you on what may be the worst day of your life.
Please visit the 9-1-1 website for more information.