Putnam County Ambulance Service Director Randy Porter, in his role as chairman of the state' Emergency Communications Board, is touting the requirement of additional training for 911 dispatchers across Tennessee. The Board this month voted to add new training requirements for calls related to missing and exploited children for 911 dispatchers. They voted to add five hours of training for all new dispatchers and two hours of continuing education every two years – both specifically focused on handling calls about missing or exploited children.
“A call about a missing child is one of the most critical calls that come into a 911 center,” said Porter. “When these calls are taken, the call-taker should have every available resource to handle it correctly. These new training requirements will ensure that dispatchers in Tennessee are properly trained and prepared to handle these calls.”
Tennessee is one of only four states with specific training requirements for its 911 dispatchers. In addition to requiring training, the TECB provides funding to local districts to pay for the training. Current requirements call for 40 hours of initial training and 8 hours of continuing education every two years. The addition of the training related to missing/exploited children would take that to 45 hours of initial training and 10 hours of continuing education.