Free Dispatch Courses Online
If you are a trained dispatcher looking to enhance your skills, the following free online resources may be of interest to you:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- 1996 EMD Program Implementation and Administration: Trainee Guide requires Adobe Reader to download PDF files. The guide is entirely text-based and covers a number of topics, including methods for gathering information and providing instructions to callers, emergency medical dispatch liability, dispatcher responsibilities, and providing emergency care instructions. The manual also includes an overview of the EMD practical exam and a glossary of terms.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute
The FEMA Emergency Management Institute offers several courses that cover skills directly applicable to the EMD field. These FEMA courses include the following:
- Effective Communication covers basic communication skills, effective communication in an emergency, and ways to use technology as a communication tool. It is presented through a PDF file that offers instructional text, self-assessment activities, and links to related resources. Students can also take a final exam through the website or download the exam questions to complete offline. These materials may be used by some emergency management professionals to earn continuing education (CEU) credits.
- Telecommunicators Emergency Response Taskforce Basic Course teaches dispatchers how to manage calls as part of a disaster response. It is presented through an interactive website that provides educational text, worksheets and handouts. Students can test their skills by taking a final exam offline or on the website. If they wish to be placed in the National TERT Database and deployed in a disaster situation, they can submit a copy of the course results to their state TERT Coordinator. This course covers topics in mental and physical preparation for deployment, interpersonal communication skills and the roles of dispatchers in disaster environments.
State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Guidecards are a set of printable cards that can also be used and referenced online. These guidecards provide dispatchers with an initial set of questions to ask callers and appropriate dispatch responses. This resource also provides questions to ask and instructions to give callers reporting emergencies related to animal bites, chest pains, strokes, electrocution, pregnancy, cardiac arrest, gunshot injuries and diabetes, and a number of others.
Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence
- Dispatching for the Altered Mental Status Call includes video lectures and PowerPoint presentations that cover topics related to handling calls from individuals with altered mental status. Topics covered include the effectiveness of teamwork and types of mental illnesses. Students also examine methods for handling crisis intervention team (CIT) calls and talking to suicidal callers.
Info on Free Emergency Dispatcher Training Online
While there are not many free online emergency medical dispatch (EMD) training programs through public and not-for-profit schools, there are a number of resources provided by emergency response organizations. Students can access these educational materials on their own time, though college credit isn't awarded for completing them. While these materials won't qualify someone for a job in this field, they may be useful for those already working as dispatchers to refresh skills or to learn new skills.
For those looking to enter the field of dispatching, online dispatcher training programs exist but are not free. These programs include basic courses in dispatching, including effective communication for dispatchers, protocols for giving instructions to a caller, and applicable state laws.