A Telecommunicator is an emergency response coordination professional trained to receive, assess, and prioritize emergency requests for assistance, including, but not limited to:

  • Determining the location of the emergency being reported
  • Determining the appropriate law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, or combination of those emergency services to respond to the emergency
  • Coordinating the implementation of that emergency response to the location of the emergency
  • Processing requests for assistance from emergency responders.

Telecommunicators are classified as a Protected Service Occupation in the federal Standard Occupational Classification.

Related Terms:

Call Taker

A telecommunicator who answers emergency voice, text, and multi-media calls from the public and performs other critical duties that include, but are not limited to:

  • Determining accurate locations for emergency responders
  • Assigning incident type codes for dispatch (e.g., accident, assault, fire, domestic violence, burglary)
  • Directing callers with critical life-saving pre-arrival instructions in support of field responders (CPR, Childbirth, etc.)
  • Gathering all necessary scene safety information for use by dispatchers to ensure safety for field responders


A telecommunicator who prioritizes and directs the specific response of multiple public safety resources (e.g., fire, police, EMS) to emergency incidents by prioritizing vital information and maintaining situational awareness of all circumstances for the incident that impacts the safety of field responders. A dispatcher exercises independent judgment to determine the type and level of response necessary, coordinates essential emergency instructions to all parties in the incidents using radios, computers, and other public safety networks, and ensures alert coordination with other agencies (hospitals, air rescue, hazmat teams, etc.) is maintained to provide emergency response and transport that maximizes life safety and public law and order.