The city is currently looking to hire a 9-1-1 dispatcher or ‘telecommunicator’ in official terms. Qualified applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and be able to type 35 words per minute. There’s the usual drug screen and background check, too, plus an ability to work under pressure.
Seriously? That’s it? Shouldn’t hiring standards be more rigorous when lives and property hang in the balance? I’d qualify as a candidate and, trust me on this, you don’t want me handling your emergency. I fluster easily.
In contrast, I wouldn’t qualify for a data entry position, a job where nothing’s at stake but your sanity. That one requires a minimum of 10,000 keystrokes per hour, computer skills, knowledge of database software, and strong reading comprehension. If you screw up, say by transposing a number, you’ll get a pretty harsh tongue-lashing.
Make the same mistake as a 9-1-1 dispatcher and someone dies. Or a house burns down. Bad, awful, horrible, unspeakable things will inevitably result. So shouldn’t a certificate be required, or a license, something more substantial than a high school education and a laid-back attitude?
Although, come to think of it, this could explain why SWAT teams mistakenly kick in the front doors of elderly couples and demolition crews tear down the wrong house and ambulances rush to abandoned lots.
You know, in case of emergency I think I’ll just call a cab.