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10 Tips for Effective Communication with Dispatch Center

Effective communication with your dispatcher is vital to positive patient outcome. Get to know each of the dispatchers within your agency, treat them as professionals, and learn how dispatchers communicate on the radio. Everyday EMS Tips contributor Martha Bonnie has worked in three different dispatch centers dispatching fire, EMS, and law enforcement. Read her Every Day EMS Tips for effective communication:

1. Speak clearly and concisely on the radio.
2. Know what you are going to say before you key your radio.
3. Talk slowly enough that you can be understood, while avoiding too much time on the radio.
4. Listen to dispatchers on the radio.
5. Hear what they tell you and appropriately respond.
6. If you do not hear or understand what they have said, ask them to repeat it to you.
7. Use plain speak instead of ten codes, jargon and other slang .
8. Follow protocol. If your agency requires you to tell your dispatcher when you have arrived at a location or what mileage you have recorded, give it to the dispatcher.
9. Spend a shift in the dispatch center, and ask your dispatchers to ride along with you for a shift. Knowing different perspectives is helpful in enhancing communication.
10. Be friendly and professional. You work for the same agency and community.

Remember that everyone has the same goal: assisting your community by providing emergency medical services.

By First Arriving

Dave is an EMS provider based in New York City for over 20 years and has been blogging for over 10 years. He is experienced in all facets of EMS Service Management, Emergency Management, and specializes in Event Medical Services. He maintains a blog at, is an Columnist, and will be authoring on all things social (including Social Media) here at The Social Medic.