Upper Yukon / Tanana / Military Zone Dispatch
Bureau of Land Management : Alaska
The roles of dispatchers in fire management organizations are varied and the duties encompass emergency and routine responses to incidents including, but not limited, to wildland fire. The ability to perform in stressful situations is an essential skill for a successful dispatcher. Dispatchers may be scheduled to work a variety of shifts; overtime is unplanned, dependent on the activity of that day, and frequent during the summer months. Assignments to work in other dispatch offices in Alaska or the Lower 48 are for up to 14 days.
Dispatchers are an integral part of the initial attack, logistics and intelligence functions. The knowledge of aircraft regulations, types and capabilities, firefighting organizations and terminology, ordering systems, radio communication etiquette and the ability to use computers to organize, store, update and display information are essential elements of dispatching.
Example of the duties a dispatcher may perform are:
- Determine the equipment, personnel, aircraft, strategy, and tactics to use and support wildfire suppression activities or other emergencies.
- Determine land ownership and appropriate response in order to implement fire plans and cooperative agreements and insure correct billing for fire suppression costs.
- Process requests for crews, overhead, equipment, supplies and aircraft.
- Insure assigned fire personnel meet established national standards.
- Relay messages correctly via computer, phone, fax or radio concerning incidents and support to managers and personnel within your office, other dispatch centers, state and federal agencies, and in-flight aircraft.
- Select, hire, assign to incidents and projects, flight follow and complete payment documents for charter and contracted aircraft.
- Track personnel and equipment and coordinate movements to areas which may be remote or out of state.
- Obtain and update fire information in established computer programs.
- Conduct briefings.
- Compile and maintain data and write reports based on that data.
- Currently prior fire fighting experience is required for permanent dispatch positions, but not for temporary dispatch positions.