Communications Operators Needed at Clarion County 9-1-1

| August 22, 2019

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion County 9-1-1 is looking for people willing to become everyday heroes as communications operators.

9-1-1 dispatchers are typically anonymous, a voice through the phone during a time of hardship, but they are also a major part of the life-saving process as the first point of contact for people dealing with an emergency situation.

Clarion’s communications operators go through over 500 hours of training before becoming a certified telecommunicator. The training consists of classroom and hands-on training. They must be certified in Emergency Telecommunications, Emergency Medical Dispatch, Emergency Fire Dispatch, and Emergency Police Dispatch as part of this training. Hands-on training includes answering administrative, after hours, and emergency calls, dispatching police, medical, and fire responders, and sometimes doing more than one of these at a time.

The full training for the job takes about six months.

The job itself requires working 12-hour shifts and rotating nights and days.

While the job is vital, it certainly isn’t easy.

Michelle L. Lander, Clarion County 9-1-1 Deputy Director, spoke to exploreClarion.com about some of the challenges the dispatchers face.

“As a telecommunicator, you come into your shift not knowing what the day may bring. You might walk into your shift and the first call is a wrong number, followed by a call for an elderly patient who fell. The next shift you walk in and the first call is a mother screaming that her baby stopped breathing, or a wife who found her husband on the floor and he won’t wake up. We’ve all experienced these types of calls.”

“The job as a telecommunicator is not for everyone. You must be able to multi-task and have split-ear. What this means is that you must be able to listen to the caller, type what they are telling you, and speak to an officer calling you on the radio, all at the same time.”

“I honestly believe the hardest part of our job is rarely getting to hear the end of the story. We usually don’t get to hear the outcome of the call where you helped the mother perform CPR on her baby who stopped breathing or the outcome of the pregnant mother who was having labor pains too soon.”

Lander noted that though the dispatchers often don’t find out the final outcome of the calls they take, it can still have its rewarding moments.

“When you know you’ve helped to save a life, or helped a family to locate their missing child who wandered away because you relayed all the information to the responders it’s heartwarming.”

Clarion 911 OES

Would you like to fill this chair?

Clarion County 9-1-1 Communications is looking for qualified applicants to join their team, working in a fast-paced rewarding career.

Both full- and part-time positions are currently available.

The positions offer great benefits, including retirement, paid vacations, holidays, sick leave, and medical benefits up to family coverage. The positions also offer a generous training program and a work atmosphere that fosters respect, fairness, and honesty.

Preferred qualities include the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, the ability to take action calmly and decisively in emergencies, knowledge of public safety systems, equipment, and procedures, knowledge of Clarion County geography, and the availability to travel both within and outside of the county.

All candidates must be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma or equivalent, pass tests of basic knowledge and dispatching, and pass a drug screening, a hearing test, and a criminal history check.

You can apply online at www.co.clarion.pa.us.

For more information, please email Michelle Lander at mlander@dps.clarion.pa.us or call 814-226-6631, or email Tim Cochran, County Employee Relations Director, at tcochran@co.clarion.pa.us or call 814-226-4000 ext. 2812.

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