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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

New York City Fire Department | Evaluated Learning Experience

Probationary Fire Alarm Dispatcher Training (COM 210)


416 hours (12 weeks).

Bureau of Fire Communications, 9 Metro Tech Center, Brooklyn, NY.

January 2022 - Present. 

Instructional delivery format: 
Traditional classroom model
Learner Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: receive and process emergency calls received from NYPD, private alarm companies, inter-bureau agencies, and outside agencies; speak to callers, extract pertinent information, validate that caller’s location exists in FDNY street file, and generate a response based on the information received from the calling party.  In addition to handling emergency calls from the public, ARDs also manage non-emergency and administrative calls, make notifications to other agencies, handle requests from other bureaus within the department; and serve as the primary back-up to other Fire Dispatch positions. ARDs will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, VESTA phone, MapStar, EBS telephone, Motorola Scanner, and ERS systems: vet alarms to ensure that assignments are accurate and processed in a timely manner; review all emergencies as they relate to their borough and monitor citywide activity and unit availability; react quickly to all alarms and be cognizant of radio transmissions; maintain situational awareness of the dispatch platform as well as monitoring field activity; identify the need to provide adequate fire coverage in any geographical area experiencing above average fire traffic; ensure that the borough has adequate fire protection during the tour at all times and check unit availability; receive calls on the administrative line from other units in the field who are calling in verbal incidents or are updating their status; and receive calls from other boroughs looking for assistance to provide units to them for relocation. DDs (Decision Dispatchers) will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, VESTA phone, EBS phone, Motorola Scanner, Status Entry Panel, Live MUM, and an Administrative Computer; ensure that FDNY Units respond to their assigned alarms, training, relocations, and other dispatches and perform notifications, which are separated as primary and secondary. Primary notifications are made intra- agency during FDNY incidents and secondary notifications are made inter-agency.  VA (Voice Alarm) dispatchers also conduct call backs on behalf of FDNY Field Units to gather additional information. VADs (Voice Alarm Dispatchers) will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, Voice Alarm Console, VESTA phone, ring-down lines, EBS phone, Motorola Radio Console, Status Entry Panel, and an Administrative computer. The Radio Dispatcher consists of two positions (Radio-In and Radio-Out). The Radio In performs several specific tasks such as reviewing all alarms for pertinent information, scrolling or reviewing all EMS alarms received for any changes in patient status as well as any potential dangerous or hazardous conditions, reviewing all CIDS (critical information) attached to an address which  contains any special instructions, special response and alerts to any dangerous or hazardous conditions, entering all signals and request for additional resources from the field units as well as special calling or adding specific units utilizing the Status Entry Panel (SEP), monitoring Unit statuses and availability, and entering progress reports and updates. The Radio Out is the main point of contact between the Communications Office and the Field Units. This Dispatcher ensures the response of units that have not acknowledged a run, assignment or relocation, announcing the alarm information to the responding units as well as giving any special instructions related to that incident, notifying units of special designations or responsibilities at an incident, announces escalating alarms and incidents occurring in other boroughs, broadcasting important messages such as department orders, and responsible for relaying all additional information to field units responding to or operating at an incident. Radio Dispatchers will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, VESTA phone, Status Entry Panel, Motorola Radio Console, MIS Computer, and an Administrative Computer.


Major topics include: fire alarm dispatching; role of 5 CADS positions; DD 96-01; request for assistance; and proper handling of complaints. CADS system; equipment for Decision Dispatcher use; various screen uses; assigning of units and handling of various types of alarms; voice alarm position, prioritizing functions at the voice alarm position, similarities and differences-radio and voice alarm, developing shorthand for radio communications, preliminary reports, citywide relays, introduction to SEP (Status Entry Panel), and emphasis on radio operations with voice alarm support. Methods of instruction include: supplemental readings, quizzes, final examination, and supervised on-the-job practice. 

Credit recommendation: 

In the associate degree/certificate category, 12 semester hours in Public Safety Communications or Communications (6/22).  NOTE: This course consists of three courses that were grouped together under a new title. Prior to January 2022, Fire Dispatch Operations: Alarm Receipt Dispatcher (COM 202); (Formerly Alarm Receipt Dispatcher (COM 202); Fire Dispatch Operations: Decision Dispatcher (COM 203) (Formerly Decision Dispatcher (COM 203); and Fire Dispatch; and Operations: Radio/Voice Alarm (COM 204)(Formerly Radio/Voice Alarm (COM 204) were taught as stand-alone courses. See 'Terminated courses' for discrete credit recommendations.