A fire dispatcher works at a fire department, functioning as the main communication unit for the firefighters employed at their department. The fire dispather controls the fire trucks, sending them to the place of an incident in an orderly manner and planning their travel routes to minimize the time needed to reach the location. The dispatcher will frequently work with live maps of the city’s traffic to help the firemen avoid congestions as well as direct them to some relatively unknown shortcuts that could benefit them. Additionally, the dispatcher will sometimes relay messages between different units of the brigade, when they lack the ability to directly communicate between each other
To get a job as a fire dispatcher, a high school diploma is sufficient. Good knowledge of the operation of a fire brigade is a plus, as is a strong critical thinking skill. Fire dispatchers frequently work under a lot of pressure, and will often be required to maintain focus on several entities at once, which can be highly stressful for many people. Additionally, the job often involves working long hours, in situations where a large-scale fire breaks out and dispatchers are needed to help coordinate the units until the incident has been taken care of.
A fire dispatcher doesn’t earn much for the workload imposed on them – generally, the annual salary goes between $25,000 – $45,000. Additional bonuses may be awarded in months of especially high activity, such as participating in the extinguishing of a large-scale fire with a prolonged operation.