September 9, 2013
EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATOR TRAINING
By: Duke Chen, Legislative Analyst II
You asked what types of training emergency telecommunicators receive.
By law, a person must be certified by the Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications (OSET) in order to work as a telecommunicator in Connecticut for more than one year (CGS § 28-30).
In order to be certified, anyone employed on and after January 1, 1990 must complete and pass (1) two federal online courses, (2) a state-approved telecommunicator training program, and (3) a state examination. Telecommunicators must also successfully complete a probationary work period. People employed before January 1, 1990 are automatically certified and do not have to complete the training or take the examination (CGS § 28-30(f)).
OSET requires telecommunicators to take three days of training from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The certification examination is two hours and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions; the applicant must correctly answer 70 or more of them. (For more information on the 2013 training schedule, see http://www.ct.gov/despp/lib/despp/oset/2013_training_brochure.pdf.)
State law defines a “telecommunicator” as anyone engaged in or employed as a telecommunications operator by a public or private safety agency primarily to receive and process calls for emergency assistance or dispatch emergency services and receive or disseminate information for emergency assistance by telephone or radio (CGS § 28-30(2)).
By law, OSET is responsible for administering the state's E 9-1-1 program, which is located within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. As part of its responsibility, it must establish minimum training standards for telecommunicators, although a public safety agency may set higher standards. State regulations require anyone seeking OSET certification to successfully complete a state-approved telecommunicator training program that teaches certain minimum skills (Conn. Agencies Reg. § 28-30-7).
Before applying for the telecommunicator training program, applicants must first complete two federal online courses. They must pass the National Incident Management System (NIMS) 100 and 700, which are available free-of-charge (http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?a=4379&Q=515062&desppNAV_GID=2131&desppNav=%7C).
In order to successfully complete the telecommunicator training program, the applicant must demonstrate an understanding of:
1. interpersonal communications, including the factors that influence and complicate communications;
2. organization of communication structures, including the organization structure of police, fire, and emergency medical services telecommunications centers;
3. telecommunication systems, including the common malfunctions and their corrective actions;
4. telecommunications record systems, including which records must be maintained;
5. universally accepted broadcast rules and procedures;
6. telephone techniques;
7. enhanced 9-1-1 phone systems;
8. law enforcement, fire department, and emergency medical dispatch functions and personnel;
9. liability issues, including local government tort liability; and
10. hazardous material awareness.
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in (1) the basics of public safety radio broadcasting, including the ability to effectively transmit information and descriptive data to field units, and (2) using a telecommunications device for the deaf and processing requests for assisting them (Conn. Agencies Reg. § 28-30-7).
After successful completion of the telecommunicator course, applicants must attend a separate, hands-on class on 9-1-1 equipment. Additionally, they must complete an OSET-approved emergency medical dispatch training class.
OSET must issue a written acknowledgement of achievement to anyone with experience or specialized training who does not participate in the training program but demonstrates competence in meeting office telecommunicator training standards (CGS § 28-30(d)). Those receiving this acknowledgement are exempt from the training class requirement but not the certification examination and additional training.