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City of Bellingham Fire/EMS Dispatcher in Bellingham, Washington

Fire/EMS Dispatcher

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Fire/EMS Dispatcher


$53,622.40 Annually


City of Bellingham, WA

Job Type

Full Time



Job Number

22-Fire/EMS Dispatcher


8/22/2022 8:30 AM Pacific

  • Description

  • Benefits

  • Questions

Nature of Work

Do you have a passion for helping people in a moment of need and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment? The Bellingham Fire Department ( is accepting applications for Entry-level Fire/EMS Dispatchers, as well as Experienced Fire/EMS Dispatchers.

The Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatcher processes and dispatches all requests for Fire and EMS response. Receives transferred calls from What-Comm Communications Center, various other agencies and directly from the public for Fire/EMS, public assistance, and hazmat responses. Gathers information from calling parties; prioritizes and triages emergency requests for various types of assistance. When appropriate, transfers the caller to another appropriate agency. Fire/EMS Dispatchers located in the Prospect Communication Center (PCC) dispatch fire, rescue, medical, hazmat and other support units according to established policies and procedures. PCC dispatchers use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and Medical/Fire Priority Dispatch Protocols to triage information from the caller to determine the most appropriate apparatus to send, the level of coverage required and manage deployment of available units. PCC dispatchers monitor current status of Fire/EMS Department resources and assist in making recommendations for temporary or permanent changes to fire response standards. PCC dispatchers are responsible for protecting and upholding the Washington State HIPAA/Confidentiality Laws as they relate to the dispatch work.

PCC is the primary answering point for the City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Whatcom County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and dispatches all hazmat incidents. As the secondary PSAP in Whatcom County, PCC has the capability and equipment necessary to receive all 911 calls directly in the event that What-Comm Communications Center needs to be evacuated.

2022 Salary Information: (

$25.78 per hour while in training.

$27.32 per hour when fully trained.

Dispatcher in Training:

Newly hired experienced dispatchers will begin at Step 1 of Dispatcher in Training. Upon successful completion of training, the experienced dispatcher will be placed at step 1 of the fully qualified pay scale effective the first day of the following month. Subsequent step movement will be granted in six-month intervals until the new employee achieves step placement that commiserates with their continuous experience at hire.

Experienced Dispatchers:

To be eligible Experienced dispatchers must have a minimum of 24 months of full-time paid experience as an emergency services dispatcher within the last 36 months. The experience must be in a jurisdiction of at least similar size and call volume.

The City of Bellingham offers generous vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays. Our full-time and part-time employees receive medical, dental, vision, retirement options, and access to our employee assistance program. For more information, please visit .

Closing Date/Time: Mon. 8/22/2022 8:30AM Pacific Time


  • Receives, prioritizes, and routes emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, transferred calls and calls received directly from other agencies. Based on established procedures, enters non-emergent caller's information and dispatches according to priority or transfer/refers to the appropriate agency. Gathers information from calling parties and enters the type, location, source and all information for emergency calls into CAD. Triages emergency requests for assistance, and dispatches fire, rescue, medical, hazmat and other support units based on established protocols. Relays pertinent information between responders via radio.

  • Provides pre-arrival emergency and non-emergency instruction to the caller, including but not limited to, CPR, childbirth instruction and other life-saving instructions. Continually updates the status of patients and responders to apparatus responding to the incident.

  • Retrieves and evaluates information from computers based on knowledge of dispatch and emergency response protocols, status of available apparatus and familiarity with county and city geography. Dispatches and relays call information to responding personnel and apparatus.

  • Manages multiple radio frequencies and radio communications simultaneously per established policies and procedures.

  • Communicates and coordinates closely with field units and command officers to support and meet the needs of the incident and to accurately monitor incident status and unit response availability. May work closely with other fire service personnel assigned to assist dispatch operations.

  • Checks the Fire/EMS dispatch consoles on a scheduled basis by running maintenance tests and monitors all other dispatch equipment as needed. Reports problems to the Fire/EMS Dispatch Supervisor or Communications Division Chief for facilitation of repair service for malfunctioning system components.

  • Provides vehicle routing information to responding units as needed. Establishes and maintains current road closure information in a local database.

  • Appropriately monitors city-wide webcams, weather, local and national news during active incidents or weather-related emergencies for safety and scene information and relays that information to responders and other agencies as staffing and workload allows.


  • Generates routine reports daily such as the incident history reports, incident shift summaries, informational reports, etc.

  • In specifically defined situations, provides and/or coordinates on-site radio and telephone communications at the scene of an incident.

  • Faxes and mails daily reports and information reports to appropriate agencies. Maintains various files, such as premise information, location information, reference maps, business phone numbers, personnel phone numbers, etc. Assists in the evaluation of dispatch systems, operations and practices.

  • Regularly participates in fire service drills, training and emergency ride-alongs.

  • Participates in the training of probationary Fire/EMS dispatchers.

  • Performs other duties within the scope of the classification.


The work is performed in an office environment at a computer/telecommunications work station, in close proximity to co-workers. PCC Fire/EMS Dispatchers use different computer systems, a multi-line telephone system utilizing a headset and complex radio communications system to receive, input and process information. PCC Fire/EMS Dispatchers frequently take calls from people in various emotional states requesting an emergency response. The workload intensity varies considerably and requires frequent swings from emergency calls for service to less emergent assistance calls all dependent on cooperative teamwork. Specifically defined circumstances may require the response to an emergency scene to provide and coordinate on-scene emergency communications.

The work includes shift work and the need to keep current with changing operational policies and procedures. It also includes the requirement to attend and participate in fire service drills and certain fire trainings, as well as the requirement to maintain specialized training certifications as determined by policy and union contract. The work environment requires long periods of sitting or standing.

Physical ability to perform the required work including:

  • Visual acuity (correctable) to accurately read information from a computer screen and printed materials at varying distances, while multi-tasking.

  • Hearing within (or correctable to) normal limits across the speech frequencies and recognition of speech in the very good to excellent range.

  • Manual dexterity to frequently operate a computer.

Experience and Training

  • Minimum of one year of experience in a position with intensive public contact.

  • Minimum keyboarding skill of 40 wpm net.

  • Experience or training in the use of computer software such as word processing, spreadsheets, database management preferred.

  • Experience using multi-line phone systems preferred.

Necessary Special Requirements

  • Must have completed and successfully passed an approved EMT training course series prior to date of hire and within the last ten (10) years;


  • Must have worked as a certified EMT within the previous ten (10) years.


  • Must have at least two years' experience as a What-Comm Dispatcher or a dispatcher in a public safety dispatching setting with comparable duties to the Fire/EMS Dispatcher within the last 5 years


  • Must obtain EMD, EFD, certification within one year of hire or the time period specified by policy or contract.

  • Must have a telephone at place of residence or a cell phone.

  • Must pass a hearing evaluation prior to hire.

  • Must pass a criminal convictions background check prior to hire.

  • Must pass a pre-employment drug screen.

  • Must be willing to work 12 hour shifts, weekends and holidays, including responding to callouts and overtime needs.

  • All City Employees are expected to follow COVID related mandates and requirements.

All City of Bellingham employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, per Mayor Seth Fleetwood’s Executive Order 2021-02.

Selection Process

You are encouraged to print a copy of this job announcement for your reference as the process moves along

Please ensure your application is complete and all required information has been provided. Standard completeness means all application fields (contact information, personal information, education, work experience, references, and required supplemental questions). Provide as much detail as you believe will fully describe your experience and training.

Application Review process:

  • Minimum Qualifications: Candidates must provide specific, detailed information so an initial determination can be made regarding your level of qualifications for this position. Applicant status will be updated on or around August 24, 2022.

  • Experience and Training Rating: Applicants that meet minimum qualifications will go through an Experience and Training Rating. Relevancy of your experience and training, together with composition, grammar, spelling and punctuation will be considered when evaluating responses. Applicant status will be updated on or around September 1, 2022. Applicants must have a passing score of 60% or higher to be placed on the eligibility register.

  • Candidates that pass the Experience and Training Rating will be placed on a ranked eligibility register (100% of total score).

This recruitment process will create a Civil Service eligibility register that will be used to fill current and future vacancies as they become available. There is currently 1 full-time vacancy. The Civil Service Eligibility Register will remain in effect for 2 months, or longer as established by the Civil Service Commission at a later date. This position is represented by a union.

Please Note: Candidates will receive updates regarding application status via email. Please be sure to check your email frequently, including your spam folders for messages filtered by your email providers.

Equal Opportunity:

Our environment is characterized by respect for cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and ethnic diversity. The City of Bellingham is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its work force. We do not make decisions on the basis of an individual's race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age (40+), disability, retaliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. All are encouraged to apply for employment.

Fair Hiring Practices

The City provides individuals who have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense an equal and fair opportunity to obtain employment.

  • The City will not inquire about an applicant's criminal history until after a conditional job offer has been made.

  • The City will disregard the prior arrest and conviction record of an otherwise qualified individual unless the offense is directly related to the job position for which the individual has applied.

  • The City will notify an otherwise qualified applicant about a potentially disqualifying conviction and give the applicant an opportunity to submit information regarding the accuracy of the criminal records as well as evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation, as appropriate.

There are many good reasons for working at the City of Bellingham. The work is rewarding and you have an opportunity to serve your community. Another good reason is the great benefits that the City offers its employees. See our benefits section ( for additional information.

This position is represented by the AFSCME 114F bargaining unit. Specific benefit information including Holidays, Vacation Accruals, Health, Dental and Vision Plans with cost sharing and Deferred Compensation Match can be found in the AFSCME 114F labor agreement ( .

This position is covered by the State of Washington Department of Retirement Systems LEOFF plan. LEOFF requires mandatory employee and City contributions. Please visit the DRS website ( for more information on LEOFF.

Civil Service Information

This position is subject to the Bellingham Civil Service Commission. When a vacancy occurs, the top fifteen candidates or the top 25% of the register will be forwarded to the department for further consideration. All new Civil Service employees are subject to a one-year probationary period. A candidate may challenge the scope, content, or method of an examination or test, and a protest may be filed in writing with the Examiner within five (5) days following the date of the challenged examination. A candidate may also challenge the scoring of an examination or test, failure of the candidate on any part of an examination, or clerical error in examination results of any examination or test, and a protest may be filed in writing with the Examiner within five (5) days of notification of the challenged result. The Examiner shall consider all timely filed protests and make appropriate corrections if an error is demonstrated.

Veteran's Scoring Criteria

Applicants who have been honorably discharged from active military duty may be eligible to receive veteran's scoring criteria points as provided by Washington State Law (RCW 41.04.010). Candidates who would like to claim Veteran's Preference points must include a copy of their DD214 with their application.


Please select the level of experience you have:

  • I have completed and successfully passed an approved EMT training course series within the last ten (10) years.

  • I have worked as a certified EMT within the last ten (10) years.

  • I have at least two years' experience as a WhatComm Dispatcher or a dispatcher in a public safety dispatching setting with comparable duties to the Fire/EMS Dispatcher within the last five (5) years.

  • I have none of the above


    Please provide the dates of attendance and school, or dates of employment and employer, for the experience selected in question #1.


    Do you have a minimum of one year experience in a position(s) which required you to deal with the public in stressful or time sensitive situations (e.g. collections, medical emergency, customer service)?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing and able to obtain EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch), EFD (Emergency Fire Dispatch) certification within one year of hire?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to work nights, weekends, holidays and overtime?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to work any assigned shift, including weekends and holidays?

  • Yes

  • No


    Fire Dispatchers work 12 hour rotating shifts. Are you able to work this schedule?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing to respond to callouts and overtime as needed?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing to accept that you may not be allowed to leave your workstation during your shift except in an emergency?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing to agree that the integrity of the information you deal with is vital and any breach of confidentiality can result in immediate dismissal?

  • Yes

  • No


    All workstation telephone lines and radio traffic are on a 24 hour tape which is reviewed as part of our quality assurance process. Are you willing to have your calls monitored and recorded on tape for evaluation?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to work in a disciplined environment and carry out orders even when you do not agree with them?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing to participate in an intensive training program to learn and develop techniques and skills required of a dispatcher?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you willing to accept the responsibility of making a decision that could affect the lives of others knowing that a mistake in judgment could cause irreparable harm?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to maintain your composure when talking with people who are emotionally upset, angry, frightened or depressed?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to deal effectively and not get discouraged or frustrated when others use abusive or threatening language or who take out their emotions on you because of their immediate emergency?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to remain emotionally detached in order to respond to situations in a positive, professional and helpful manner?

  • Yes

  • No


    Are you able to handle a very heavy volume of calls and other assignments in a minimum amount of time without agitation and nervousness?

  • Yes

  • No


    A pre-employment drug and alcohol test is required. Are you willing to submit to this test?

  • Yes

  • No


    What is your current NET keyboarding speed?

  • 39 wpm or less

  • 40 wpm - 79 wpm

  • 80 wpm or more


    Describe your work experience in a position with intensive public contact.


    Employees in this position are required to communicate with and work well with diverse groups of customers, co-workers and managers. Give an example from your work history that illustrates your ability to work effectively in this type of environment.


    Describe your experience to work cooperatively within diverse teams and work groups to achieve a common goal.


    What methods do you use to keep on top of multiple, changing priorities, and how do you stay organized?

    Required Question


City of Bellingham


104 West Magnolia Street Bellingham, Washington, 98225





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