San Francisco Department of Emergency Management Accepts New Applications for 9-1-1 Dispatchers

San Francisco Department of Emergency Management

Accepts New Applications for 9-1-1 Dispatchers

Applications accepted beginning Monday January 9, 2017



San Francisco, C.A. – The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management invites all interested and qualified persons to submit an application for the opportunity to become a Public Safety Communications (9-1-1) Dispatcher.  Dispatchers are the vital link between the public and police officers, firefighters, and medics during emergency situations. Interested persons may apply beginning Monday January 9, 2017.

“San Francisco’s 9-1-1 Dispatchers perform difficult and life-saving work to help people in emergency situations. This career requires a commitment to serving the community and the understanding that your work may involve personal sacrifice,” said Anne Kronenberg, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM). “This life is not for everyone. However, if you value public service you will find this career rewarding and we encourage you to apply.”

Dispatchers answer all emergency (9-1-1) and non-emergency (415-553-0123) calls in San Francisco. They also dispatch and coordinate police, fire, and emergency medical services over a two-way radio system using a computer aided dispatch system. This work is performed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year. Dispatchers may be assigned to work various schedules, which include day shift, swing shift, night shift, weekends, holidays, and overtime. Dispatchers work 8-hour or 10-hour shifts, or longer, and must be willing and able to respond, report, and mobilize as necessary. The base salary for a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher begins at $81,558 annually.

Applicants must verify they meet the minimum qualifications and pass a performance and oral examination in order to be placed on the recruitment list for the Dispatch Academy. The minimum qualifications for a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher are two years of experience in a public contact position and possession of a High School Diploma, General Education Development (GED) or High School Proficiency Certification.

The performance exam measures an applicant’s ability to prioritize and multitask effectively in a fast-paced, high stress environment; recall facts, details and other pertinent information; and the ability to operate a computer terminal while typing at a minimum speed of 35 words per minute.

Those who pass the performance examination are invited to participate in a scenario-based oral examination. This exam tests oral and written communication skills, the ability to collect information and make sound decisions, aptitude to perform several tasks simultaneously, and interpersonal skills.

People who meet the minimum qualifications and pass both examinations are placed on the eligible list by rank. Candidates on this list must undergo extensive employment, character, and background investigations.  Candidates must also undergo a polygraph examination, psychological evaluation, and medical examination prior to appointment to the Dispatcher Academy.

“San Francisco has an extensive screening process to ensure that people have the basic skills, temperament, ability, and integrity for the opportunity to become a dispatcher,” said Sandy Chan, Human Resources Manager, SFDEM. “It can take up to nine months to effectively screen applicants. For this eligible list the earliest a candidate could be appointed to the academy is September 2017.”

Prospective dispatchers must complete the eight week Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) Academy for public safety dispatchers where they must display mastery of subjects including police, fire, and medical procedures, radio codes, and geography of San Francisco. Upon graduation from the academy, dispatch trainees receive on-the-job training first by answering live 9-1-1 calls and then dispatching police, fire, and medical services. This training takes place under the watchful eye of a veteran dispatcher and may last up to nine months. It is during this phase of training when most trainees drop out or are released by SFDEM.

“People quickly realize they are dealing with real life while taking actual emergency calls and start sending first responders to an emergency,” said Robert Smuts, Deputy Director for Emergency Communications (9-1-1), SFDEM. “Becoming a dispatcher is a rigorous process designed to ensure you have the skills and emotional intelligence to help people on their worst days.”

To learn more about how to apply to become a Public Safety Dispatcher, visit


Tips on the Application Processes

·         Be honest with yourself before you apply. Being a San Francisco Public Safety Communications Dispatcher is a rewarding career for those with a genuine passion for public service. Applicants should know a dispatcher’s work is demanding and difficult. Most junior dispatchers work nights, weekends, and holidays and this may continue well into your career. You may also be called upon to work overtime or come in your days off due to an emergency.

·         Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

·         For those without online access at home, computers are available to the public to file online applications 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.


The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) leads the City in planning, preparedness, communication, response, and recovery for daily emergencies, large scale citywide events, and major disasters. DEM is the vital link in emergency communication between the public and first responders, and provides key coordination and leadership to City departments, stakeholders, residents, and visitors. For more information visit

About 9-1-1

San Francisco receives more than 1.2 million emergency and non-emergency calls per year or an average of more than 3,400 per day. Since 2011, San Francisco has experienced a 37 percent increase in call volume with dispatchers answering 1,000 more calls a day than they did five years ago.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) is committed to increasing the number of 9-1-1 professionals answering calls and dispatching emergency services. In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Department of Emergency Management began a hiring initiative to keep pace with increased call volume. Last year, we hired 23 new Public Safety Communications Dispatchers.

About sfdemdaniella

A passionate emergency management communications specialist looking to inspire, educate, and connect with San Francisco Bay Area community members.

Posted on January 9, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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