I keep meaning to post, but constant distractions lately — anyways. Previously I was on an engine crew, but now I’m in dispatch. Some info — let me know if you want more, I’m not sure if you want to know really specific things, but I can go into agonizing detail over everything from daily duties, different desk assignments and of course, ROSS.
Dispatching is actually a pretty broad field — the different positions are EDRC (dispatch recorder), EDSD (support dispatcher), EDSP (supervisory dispatcher), IADP (initial attack dispatcher) and then a RADO (radio op) and an ABRO (aviation base radio op). I think that pretty much covers the different positions in comm tech. An IADP can specialize in aviation, Intel, or just fire, also. Typically those new to dispatch start out with their EDRC task book and the D-110 class. IADP (the most fun part of dispatching) usually comes next, depending on what you want to do. NOTE: to be a dispatcher, due to new regulations, fire experience is strongly encouraged — if you do not have fire experience, you will need a Fire Dispatcher task book, which requires you to attend basic firefighter training, visit the fireline, attend crew briefings, etc…
Dispatch positions are usually flown at the same time as firefighting positions — with seasonal positions open all over the west (and elsewhere). Of course, Alaska’s season is in mid- to late-spring, then the Southwest starts burning and it gradually works it way north, and just when all that seems over the south and east will start burning as well. Therefore, dispatcher jobs are open all over the country for long amounts of time. As is my situation, I’ll get laid off and then start getting sent out as an AD — hopefully keeping me employed until I go back for my masters next fall.
Looking at your questions to FireChica — I work for the BLM, based out of Montana. I travel a lot, that’s all I’ve done this year. My office was a little overcrowded, so I’ve been on dispatch details all season. The job is fun. Very extreme … either mind-numbingly slow or mind-bogglingly (SP?) fast. You have to have a thick skin and a cool head — and be pretty laid back. A high strung dispatcher can be a pain (no offense to anyone).
I think that’s all I can think of — Ab has my email address if you want to ask me more specifics or keep it to the board or whatever. That goes for everyone — I love this job, and I strive to better understanding of what exactly I do — trust me, I do not sit back and pick my nose all day. (Cue preachy music.)
Note to all – you are hilarious! The tantrum stories and critter tales have kept me and my fellow dispatchers in stitches — and before anyone jumps on me for reading on government time, it’s a Saturday and it’s been raining for two days â€“ after a long season I think we’re entitled to a little fun.
I hope everyone’s SO (including my own) comes home soon â€“ after making a ton of money all summer, of course.