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The Right Piece to the Puzzle

June 23, 2011

Emergency service personnel sometimes forget – or refuse to acknowledge – that they may have some pieces to the puzzle, but not all of them. And, they might be able to jam a piece or two into a spot where they don’t belong, but it isn’t going to look pretty. And, that brings me to the point of this writing – radio communications.

Fire chiefs are good at handling all onsite communications for small to moderate sized events. But, when the big daddy event comes along, it’s wise to call in the experts – “The Dispatcher.”

Recently, two of our dispatchers – Gina and Melonda – went through a specialized incident training program called, “Incident/Tactical Dispatching.” The California Fire Chief’s Association initially implemented this program for their large wildfires. The program branched out to include tactical dispatching used by law enforcement in hostage negotiations, SWAT, high risk warrant service, and barricaded subjects.

The overall purpose of the training is to assist in maintaining organization in the command post; perform documentation and communications tasks; provide command staff with someone specifically trained in multi-tasking.

Having a tactical dispatcher lets command officers stay focused on the incident and not on the sideline details. Not because the sideline details aren’t important, because they are. Here’s what San Jose Battalion Chief Kevin Conant had to say about his tactical dispatchers. “As a field battalion chief, I can tell you that our IDT is an invaluable aspect to any incident. I believe the IDT is an integral asset in firefighter accountability and IC overload.”

Stafford County is fortunate to have a great group of dispatchers. These dedicated individuals staff the communication’s center as the lone person most times. This creates even a greater need for field incident/tactical dispatching. The IDT will not only help the incident commander, they will also help the communication’s center dispatcher.

“Thank you Stafford County Dispatchers. We appreciate everything you do.”

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