Putnam County Ambulance Service director Randy Porter is in the news once again -- in his role as chairman of the state's Emergency Communications Board. That board has made $2.2 million in funding available to local Emergency Communications Districts for dispatcher training. He says the board requires all dispatchers to have 40 hours of supervised, on-the-job training and 40 hours of public safety communications coursework within the first six months of employment. Additionally, dispatchers must participate in regular continuing education. Porter says the training standards in Tennessee are modeled after the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials standards. The dispatcher training funds are available on an annual basis.
“Our Board has set solid standards for the training of 911 dispatchers,” said Porter. “We want to be sure the districts have the funds they need to train those dispatchers. Uniform training of dispatchers results in improved response to emergencies.”
The TECB was created by the General Assembly in 1998 to assist ECDs’ boards of directors in management, operations and accountability, with the goal of establishing reliable emergency communications for all citizens of the state. It’s a successful formula; in 2005, Tennessee became the third state in the nation to become Phase II-ready, meaning a 911 operator can obtain a wireless caller’s number and location information. In 2005, Tennessee received an award from the Congressional E911 Institute for having the nation’s best state system.