MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV) Across the country, we're seeking staffing shortages, especially for 911 calls. These are the people who are answering the phone and are on the front line to help in the case of an emergency. But Monterey County is also experiencing these same staffing shortages.
According to Director of Emergency Communications, Lee Ann Magoski, her department receives over five hundred 911 calls and over a thousand administrative calls per day. She shared that some of their employees have had to work thirty hours of overtime on top of their regular scheduled hours.
"It's also important to know here in Monterey County that when you call 911," Magoski said. "You're going to potentially be getting someone that's not only answering the phone but may be working a radio. So they not only are having to deal with the emergency on the phone, but they may be able to have to deal with radio traffic for a responder who is making a request."
They are currently looking for people who want to answer 911 calls. They have a training program that can take up to five months, but, the whole training process to become a dispatcher can take 18 to 24 months. So, to be one of the call takers, they go into a three-week classroom academy and 12 to 16 weeks of on-the-job dispatcher training.
"It's really amazing that in this profession, it's on-the-job training," Magoski said. "You are learning as emergencies are happening. So the training is advanced in that every 24 months it's required for you to have 24 hours of ongoing professional training."
Click here if you'd like to apply to become a Communication Dispatcher Trainee.