911 Dispatcher Test

911 Dispatcher Test question and answer

A 911 Dispatcher is a public safety professional who is responsible for answering emergency and non-emergency calls for service and dispatching the appropriate resources. Their main duties include:

  1. Receiving and responding to emergency and non-emergency calls from the public.
  2. Gathering critical information from the caller, such as the nature of the emergency, location, and description of individuals involved.
  3. Determining the type of response required, such as police, fire, or medical, and dispatching the appropriate resources.
  4. Monitoring the status of calls and responding to changing circumstances by updating dispatch information and deploying additional resources as needed.
  5. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of calls, dispatches, and related information.
  6. Providing updates to callers, responding agencies, and supervisors on the status of calls.
  7. Participating in training and continuing education to stay current with industry standards and procedures.

Becoming a 911 dispatcher can be a rewarding career, as it involves directing emergency help to those in need. However, the job requires specific skills and temperaments, such as the ability to work under pressure, excellent communication skills, and quick decision-making abilities. Here’s a general outline of what a test for a 911 dispatcher might look like, though the specifics can vary based on location and agency:

  1. Basic Skills Test: This section might include reading comprehension, listening, typing, and basic computer skills. As a dispatcher, you’ll need to be able to understand and process information quickly and accurately.
  2. CritiCall or Similar Testing: CritiCall tests are commonly used in the U.S. to assess potential emergency dispatch candidates. They cover several areas, including:
    • Data Entry: Both audio and text. Simulates entering data into a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.
    • Call Summarization: Listening to call scenarios and then summarizing them.
    • Map Reading: Basic understanding of maps, given that dispatchers often need to guide emergency services to locations.
    • Memory Recall: Dispatchers must remember and accurately recall details from calls.
    • Prioritization: Given multiple emergencies, candidates must prioritize calls based on urgency.
  3. Psychological Assessment: This might not be a ‘test’ in the traditional sense, but many agencies require a psychological evaluation to ensure that you can cope with the high-stress nature of the job. They assess your mental stability, resilience, and ability to handle and recover from stress.
  4. Mock Calls: You may be subjected to simulated 911 calls where your responses will be monitored for appropriateness, timeliness, and accuracy. This tests your ability to handle real-life scenarios and make critical decisions under pressure.
  5. Interview Questions: Though not a written test, be prepared for a thorough interview process. You might be asked about how you handle stress, your decision-making process, and why you’re interested in the role of a 911 dispatcher.
  6. Background Check and Drug Test: Most, if not all, agencies will require a clean criminal record and may also conduct a drug test.
  7. Hearing and Vision Tests: These physical exams ensure you can effectively perform the job’s functions.

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Online Civil Service practice test

POST Entry-Level Dispatcher California

The exam measures the reading and writing skills of those who want to become a POST Entry-Level Dispatcher. The California Peace Officer (CA POST) test is similar to the Dispatcher Exam.

NYPD 911 Operator Exam

Employment Requirements: Four-year high school diploma, one year full-time paid experience performing clerical dutie, two years of active U.S. military duty with honorable New York City residency (5 boroughs)

You need to take the Civil Service Exam for this position.

Critical Dispatcher Test

This exam includes a computer-based assessment to ensure applicants possess the necessary skills to perform all the required positions.

911 Dispatcher tests typically evaluate skills and knowledge in areas such as:

  1. Communication skills: listening actively, understanding the caller’s needs, and providing clear and concise instructions.
  2. Decision-making skills: the ability to analyze information quickly and make effective decisions under pressure.
  3. Stress management: the ability to handle stressful and potentially life-threatening situations calmly and effectively.
  4. Multitasking: the ability to handle multiple tasks, such as answering multiple calls and entering data, at the same time.
  5. Geographical knowledge: the ability to use maps, directories, and other resources to determine the location of incidents.
  6. Knowledge of emergency procedures: the ability to apply procedures and protocols for different types of emergencies, such as fires, medical emergencies, and natural disasters.
  7. Basic computer skills: the ability to use computer systems and software to manage calls, enter data, and access information.

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Online Civil Service practice test

911 Dispatcher Test Quizlet

Here are 12 sample questions that could be similar to those found on a 911 dispatcher test, or that would be relevant to the skills needed for the position:

  1. Listening Comprehension: If a caller reports that they are at 123 Main Street and their house is on fire, what information should you dispatch to emergency responders?
  2. Multitasking: If you were on the phone with a caller reporting a crime and another line starts ringing with an unknown emergency, what should you do?
  3. Data Entry: What keyboard shortcut is commonly used to copy selected text? (a) Ctrl + C (b) Ctrl + V (c) Ctrl + X (d) Ctrl + Z
  4. Geographical Knowledge: What is the best way to ascertain a caller’s location if they are unable to provide an address?
  5. Decision Making and Prioritization: You receive a call about a cat stuck in a tree and another about a car accident with potential injuries. Which call do you prioritize?
  6. Emotional Resilience and Stability: How would you handle a caller who is extremely upset and yelling?
  7. Reading Comprehension: If an instruction manual states that a particular action should only be taken under a supervisor’s guidance, when is it appropriate to perform that action?
  8. Typing Skills: If you mistype an address to the responding units, what should you do?
  9. Customer Service Skills: How would you handle a caller who is unable to speak English or speaks very limited English?
  10. General Knowledge: A caller reports chest pain and shortness of breath. What type of emergency responders should be dispatched to this call?
  11. Math Skills: If you need to calculate the response time, and the police station is 5 miles away from the incident location, traveling at 60 miles per hour, how long will it take for them to arrive?
  12. Stress Management: How would you maintain composure if you had multiple emergency lines ringing at once and were the only dispatcher available?

Here are some practice scenarios that could help you get ready for the real thing:

Scenario 1: Medical Emergency

Caller: “Help, my husband has collapsed and he’s not breathing!”

Your Response: “I’m sending help now. Stay on the line. Do you know CPR?”

Scenario 2: Fire Emergency

Caller: “There’s a fire in my kitchen! I tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but it’s getting worse!”

Your Response: “I’ve dispatched the fire department. Get everyone out of the house now and stay on the line with me. Do not attempt to put out the fire yourself.”

Scenario 3: Domestic Disturbance

Caller: “My neighbor is screaming and I hear loud crashing sounds. I think her partner might be hurting her.”

Your Response: “I’m sending the police now. Can you provide me with the address? And please stay on the line, but don’t put yourself in danger.”

Scenario 4: Traffic Accident

Caller: “I just saw a car crash at the intersection of Main and 2nd Street. It looks really bad!”

Your Response: “Help is on the way. Are there any visible injuries? If it’s safe, can you check if anyone needs medical assistance?”

Scenario 5: Child Locked in a Car

Caller: “A child is locked inside a hot car in the supermarket parking lot. What should I do?”

Your Response: “I’m sending help right away. Stay on the line, and don’t try to break the window yourself unless you see signs of immediate distress.”

Scenario 6: Burglary in Progress

Caller: “I hear someone breaking into my house. I’m alone, and I’m scared.”

Your Response: “I understand, help is on the way. Can you get to a safe place, like a locked room? Stay quiet and stay on the line with me.”

Scenario 7: Missing Child

Caller: “My daughter is missing! She’s only five. We were at the park, and now I can’t find her.”

Your Response: “I’m here to help. Can you describe what she’s wearing and where you last saw her? Stay calm and stay on the line.”

Scenario 8: Poisoning

Caller: “My son just drank some cleaning fluid. What should I do?”

Your Response: “I’m sending medical assistance now. Do not make him vomit. Can you tell me what he drank, and how much? Keep the container handy for when help arrives.”

911 Dispatcher Typing Test

A typing test for a 911 dispatcher position typically evaluates a candidate’s speed and accuracy in typing, both of which are critical skills for the role. Dispatchers often need to quickly and accurately enter information as they receive it from callers.

Here’s what you might expect from a typing test for a 911 dispatcher position:

  1. Speed: You may be required to type a given paragraph or series of sentences within a specified time limit. The goal will likely be to reach a certain number of words per minute (WPM), such as 40 WPM or more, depending on the specific requirements of the agency.
  2. Accuracy: Along with speed, your typing accuracy will be assessed. Mistakes can lead to misunderstandings or delays in emergency response, so accuracy is crucial. You might be asked to transcribe a recorded 911 call or type a given text with a minimal error rate.
  3. Real-Life Simulation: Some tests might include a simulation of a real-life dispatch scenario, where you’ll have to listen to a call and type the information accurately as you hear it. This can assess both your listening comprehension and your ability to multitask.
  4. Data Entry: Specific exercises may require you to enter information into forms or fields, as you would when logging a call. This can include addresses, phone numbers, incident details, and other relevant data.
  5. Correcting Errors: You might be provided with a text containing errors and asked to correct them. This exercise can assess your attention to detail and your ability to recognize and correct mistakes.
  6. Typing Under Pressure: Since 911 dispatchers work in high-pressure environments, you may be assessed on your ability to maintain speed and accuracy under stress, possibly with distractions or additional tasks to perform simultaneously.