Updated November 12, 2012
The Communications Division meets the day to day challenges of providing front line support and response to both the public and emergency responders. Your primary responsibilities will be to receive emergency calls and dispatch fire apparatus and personnel through computer-aided dispatch and radio communication systems.
Staff assigned to the Communications Division must work in a demanding, multi-tasking team environment, where the ability to prioritize tasks and remain calm under pressure is vital to ensuring the safety of the residents and firefighters of the City of Toronto.
With operational links to communications systems such as the Fire/Police/EMS Radio Systems and the Subway System Radio infrastructure, the Mobile Workstation (MWS) and Global Positioning/Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL/GOPS) the Communications Division is a significant part of the continuing development of the Toronto Fire Services.
On February 4, 2002, Toronto Fire Services officially opened its new Communication Centre at 4330 Dufferin Street. Since its inauguration, the centre has increased our effectiveness.
Calltaker / Dispatcher - Recruitment and Selection Process
The recruitment and selection process for Calltaker / Dispatcher - Communications Division, Toronto Fire Services includes several candidate evaluation stages. All interested candidates are advised to attend a Toronto Fire Services Career Information Session to learn about the recruitment and selection process for this position.
The recruitment and selection process for Calltaker / Dispatcher may include an interview, written and/or practical test(s). The selection process will include an assessment of the candidate's decision making abilities, judgement, and capacity to perform job tasks including accurately interpreting and recording events and information. Testing may assess, among other things, manual dexterity, keyboarding skills, voice and vocal command, and listening skills. Practical testing may include the use of headsets and communication radios, as well as CritiCall Pre-employment testing as described in the CritiCall Test Descriptions Flyer (PDF).
Applications for this position must be submitted online through the 'Ongoing recruitment' section of the City of Toronto's employment website, www.toronto.ca/employment. Online applications should include a resume and cover letter that clearly demonstrate qualifications that match those specified in the position posting.
Candidates may apply to this position at any time. Although there may not be current vacancies at the time of application submission, resumes are kept for future consideration.
Applications will be retained in an applicant database for a period of no longer than six (6) months. Candidates must resubmit after six months if they still wish to be considered for employment. Candidates are advised to maintain current contact information in their profiles.
Calltaker / Dispatchers are members of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, Local 3888.
Calltaker / Dispatcher – Self-Assessment Questions
The following questions are designed to help you assess whether you would be suited to a career as a Calltaker / Dispatcher with Toronto Fire Services. If you answer ‘No’ to even one of these questions, you may want to reconsider your interest in this position. These questions are intended for self-assessment purposes only and should not be submitted as part of your application to this position.
- Would I enjoy working in an environment that helps people in traumatic crisis situations?
- Would I enjoy working in an environment that requires managing sustained periods of moderate to high levels of stress?
- Would I enjoy working in an environment that involves interaction with a diverse mix of cultures, nationalities, and languages?
- Am I willing and able to work on weekends as well as religious and statutory holidays as scheduled?
- Am I willing and able to accommodate a rotating shift schedule that includes working 10-hour days and 14-hour nights?
- Am I willing and physically able to work shifts that are up to 14 consecutive hours in length?
- Am I willing to have my meal and rest breaks interrupted or postponed if required?
- Am I willing to have my personal, social, and family time disrupted because of the demands of my work schedule?
- Am I willing and able to deal professionally and non-judgementally with abusive callers who may use profane language over the telephone?
- Am I willing to adhere to established protocols, procedures, rules and regulations?
- Am I willing to respect the chain of command in a paramilitary work environment?
- Am I able to report to work on time, in any kind of weather condition?
- Am I willing to accept work direction and critical feedback from a supervisor?
- Am I willing to work in a unionized work environment?
- Am I willing and able to sustain long periods of time restricted to my workstation?
- Can I be accountable for my own actions?
- Can I conduct myself with integrity?
- Can I exercise sound judgement in stressful high-pressure emergency situations?
- Can I be assertive and direct when required?
- Can I remain calm and focused in pressure situations?
- Can I work effectively in a team environment?
Calltaker / Dispatcher - Major Responsibilities:
Under the direction of a Communications Division Captain, the Calltaker / Dispatcher:
- Receives emergency calls from the public and other agencies
- Quickly analyzes the information received from the caller and dispatches the required emergency vehicles
- Efficiently operates console equipment, including telephone, radio, status control and computer aided dispatch
- Follows established procedures in making calm, cool decisions as required in an emergency services environment
- Has a good working knowledge of available resources to support emergency scene operations
Calltaker / Dispatcher - Qualifications:
- Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or academic equivalent (minimum)
- Current certification in Standard First Aid and CPR Level B (minimum)*
- Experience with Microsoft Office and Windows operating system
- Accurate and efficient keyboarding skills
- Good knowledge of Toronto streets, major public buildings and general city topography
- Clear English communication skills under stressful situations (this ability will be assessed throughout the selection process)
- Easily understood speaking voice on radio and telephone
- Demonstrated proof of excellent conflict resolution skills
- Ability to demonstrate sound and rapid decision making under stressful conditions
- Ability and dexterity to handle call taking and dispatching functions using computer aided dispatch and radio communications systems
- Ability to prioritize tasks/demands and carry out priorities as identified
- Good judgement and interpersonal skills when dealing with the public, Fire Services staff and other personnel
- Willingness and ability to work day, night and weekend rotating shifts (including holidays)
- Ability to remain calm and work efficiently and effectively in a multitasking high stress environment
- Colour vision appropriate for dispatch functions.
- Post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree
- Post-secondary training in Emergency Communications
- Experience in fire operations, public safety/health, emergency management, customer service, call centre operations
- Fluency in other languages
- Volunteer and community service
- Possession of a valid Ontario Class G Driver's Licence
*First Aid and CPR Certificates:
Standard First Aid certificates (minimum) must be issued by WSIB Approved First Aid Trainers. For more information on WSIB Regulation 1101 or Approved First Aid Trainers, visit the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
There exist several levels of CPR training. In connection with the Calltaker / Dispatcher recruitment and selection process, Toronto Fire Services requires a Level B CPR Course (minimum). This course is offered by many First Aid and CPR training organizations, including many of the First Aid Trainers approved by WSIB.
Committed to employment equity, the City of Toronto encourages applications from Aboriginal people, people with disabilities, members of visible minority groups and women.
Accommodation will be provided in all parts of the hiring process as required under the City of Toronto’s Employment Accommodation policy. Applicants need to make their needs known in advance.
We thank all applicants and advise that only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
To apply for this position, please visit our Web site www.toronto.ca/employment under Ongoing Recruitment, Calltaker / Dispatcher or Current Opportunities.