This is emergency communication work at the managerial level overseeing the continual and uninterrupted operations of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s fire and emergency medical communications system.  The employee in this class directs, through subordinate assistant chiefs, a staff of dispatchers engaged in handling calls from the public for emergency fire and/or emergency medical services and the deployment of appropriate emergency response equipment.   

            This class is differentiated from the lower level by responsibility for coordinating continuous 24 hour-a-day coverage of the communications system, evaluating, and identifying funding sources, procuring technology and communications infrastructure overseeing the continuous maintenance of communications equipment are significant aspects of the work.  The employee in this class also has responsibility for directing the Fire Communications Center’s Training, Quality Assurance Programs, Fire Survey and communications equipment inventory control programs.

            Work is performed under the general supervision of a Deputy Fire Commissioner. 


ALLOCATING FACTORS: (The following conditions must be met for a position to be allocated to this class.)


•           The position must direct all operations of the emergency fire and medical communications system.

•           The position must be located in the Fire Department.

•           Only one position may be allocated to this class.




            Develops and recommends the budget for the Fire Communications Center; reviews and recommends staffing levels to ensure adequate coverage of operations; reviews technological changes for impact on operations; evaluates and identifies funding sources; reviews, changes and establishes operational policies on a regular basis.

            Directs the development of program and unit reporting on performance measures and the analysis of resource development; reviews and analyzes reports and submits recommendations for improvement; compiles statistical and other information regarding emergency responses; retrieves information as needed in the preparation of reports regarding emergency response performance;

            Assumes direct command of communication functions during multiple alarm fires and other major incidents and events; tests and operates multi-media notification systems in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Management.

            Provides testimony in court pertaining to fire department communications; processes and responds to legal, executive, investigative and right to know requests regarding fire department communications and recordings.

            Develops and updates detail design documents for multiple technology and communications systems including computer aided dispatch systems and dispatch procedures to be used in the communication center and field units; oversees computer aided dispatch process on a daily basis; plans and designs work stations and positions within room to insure proper coverage; updates medical protocol software; monitors fire equipment assignments within the computer aided dispatch system and monitors revisions of history and information files.

            Directs the employee training program for the Fire Communications Center, providing training in communications equipment, computer aided dispatch procedures, dispatcher certification and re-certification; gives lectures and demonstrations relative to the operation of the fire communication system to new firefighters, civic organizations and other groups.

            Directs the  quality assurance program, which continually monitors dispatchers’ adherence to Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol and related performance measures; Directs the Fire Survey Unit, which manages street location data for the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System and inventory of all communications equipment for the Fire Communications Center; serves on technical committees and works with vendors during design, review, testing and implementation of new or upgraded communications equipment; evaluates new/upgraded communications equipment upon implementation; develops operating procedures for any new equipment; ensures training is conducted on any new procedures.

            Directs departmental investigations into Fire/EMS incidents; provides documentation/reports to various departmental and/or city officials; evaluates and monitors procurement and maintenance contracts for all communications center equipment; formulates and implements various administrative procedures and standards in such areas as lateness, sick-time and overtime.

            Performs related work as required.






·         the principles, practices, methods and procedures used in operating a variety of fire alarm communications equipment

·         principle fire hazards in an urban area

·         manual and computer aided dispatch systems, including files, functions and capabilities

·         call screening procedures, priority dispatch, and emergency medical protocols

·         the methods and techniques involved in recording and reproducing recordings of emergency calls

·         the operation of the fire alarm signal system

·         radio frequency systems and wireless data delivery systems

·         the principles and techniques used in supervising Training and Quality Assurance Programs

·         the principles and techniques used in supervising a large group of employees engaged in receiving and dispatching fire alarm and other emergency messages




·         direct the activities of a high volume emergency communications center

·         assume command of the Fire Communications Center in multiple alarm fires and other emergency events

·         maintain records and prepare reports

·         learn the location of fire stations and the physical layout of the city

·         learn the locations of principal fire hazards within the city

·         speak before large groups of diversified ages and backgrounds

·         operate various computerized, technological and communications equipment

·         analyze and interpret statistical data

·         schedule a large group of employees on varying shifts in order to maintain adequate coverage for a 24/7 operation 

·         establish and maintain effective working relationships with subordinates, city/departmental officials and vendors

·         establish and implement policies and procedures


MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 8/15.)




            Education equivalent to completion of the twelfth school grade.





            Three years of experience operating a variety of emergency fire and medical communications equipment in an emergency communications center.





Three years of experience supervising the operation of a wide variety of emergency fire and medical communications equipment in an emergency communications center.


            Or any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Office of Human Resources that has included the specific experience described above and the certifications described below.




            Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.




            Certified by the American Heart Association in the use of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillators prior to appointment and during tenure of employment

            Certified by any state or federal agency as a 911 Call Taker, 911 Dispatcher, 911 Telecommunicator or equivalent prior to appointment and during tenure of employment

            Certified by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency as a Call Taker, Fire Dispatcher, Ambulance Dispatcher and 911 Center Supervisory within 18 months of appointment and during tenure of employment.

            Possession of an Emergency Medical Dispatch certification, as issued by Priority Dispatch, within one year of appointment and during tenure of appointment as the Chief Fire Equipment Dispatcher.


Class Established 1/53

Spec. Revision: CSC - 2/03; Ad Board - 7/03

Latest Spec. Revision: CSC – 8/15; Ad. Board – 8/15