A broad swath of relevant organizations, including NFPA, have developed a new set of recommended minimum training guidelines for 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers, as part of a three-year collaborative effort facilitated by the National 9-1-1 Program.
Eighteen different organizations, referred to as the Working Group, contributed to the project. These involved agencies include the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), the Denise Amber Lee Foundation, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and PowerPhone. Additionally, numerous individuals who contributed during the public review period. The Working Group and the National 9-1-1 Program felt it was imperative to include the 9-1-1 community in vetting the new guidelines.
The recommended training topics are intended to provide nationally recognized, universally accepted guidelines that cover core competencies for the nation's 9-1-1 telecommunicators, establish the foundation for ongoing professional development, and provide the framework for state legislation that establishes the requirements for such training and a funding mechanism. The idea is to enable 9-1-1 Centers and emergency service providers to establish training programs and build upon training programs already in existence, and to assess the effectiveness of outside training programs. Topics covered by the training include telecommunicator roles and responsibilities, 9-1-1 call processing, emergency management and interpersonal communications.
The recommended training topics are intended to cover only the lowest level of competency required for 9-1-1 telecommunicators. It is important that telecommunicators receive supplemental, discipline-specific training. It is up to each 9-1-1 authority having jurisdiction to decide how best the implement the guidelines, as they are not a federal mandate.