• Basic Telecomunications


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    • Abstract: Basic TelecomunicationsCertification CourseCourse Number 1013Texas Commission on Law EnforcementBasic TelecommunicationsCourse Number 1013Revised August 2003 Basic Telecommunications

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Basic Telecomunications
Certification Course
Course Number 1013
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
Basic Telecommunications
Course Number 1013
Revised August 2003
Basic Telecommunications
ABSTRACT
The Basic Telecommunications Certification Course is designed to provide the beginning
telecommunicator with an understanding of situations encountered in an emergency
communications environment. This course is required by the Commission for certification as a
basic emergency telecommunicator.
Note to Training Providers:
This instructor guide is designed as a standardized outline for all training providers; however,
instructors are expected to develop detailed lesson plans that supplement this outline. The
incorporation of scenarios is recommended to facilitate learning of the material.
It is the responsibility of the coordinator to ensure individual copies of the course are up to
date. This may be done by checking the Commission website. www.tcleose.state.tx.us.
Target Population: Individuals desiring to obtain a Basic Telecommunications Proficiency
Certificate.
Pre-Requisites: Employment in a law enforcement agency.
Certification Successful completion of this course; and one year experience in public
Requirements: safety telecommunications.
Length of Course: 40 hours
Facility Requirements: Standard classroom environment.
Evaluation Process and Procedures
Classroom interaction with the instructor and other students, and a final comprehensive written
examination based on course objectives. Training providers are responsible for assessing and
documenting student mastery of all objectives contained in the course.
Acknowledgments
Original Outline: Sheri Anderson, Darlene Blackburn, Marvin Dawson, Toni Dunne, Dennis
Graffious, Ella O’Neal, Ted Phillips, and Jayne Tune.
Revised Outline: Cindy Al-Zeyadi, Letha Cast, Sharon Fox, Mary Kozak, Mari Morse, and
James H. Young.
Reference Materials
See Bibliography for the entire course.
NOTE: This course is not intended to override local department’s policies and procedures.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Topic Page
1.0 A Telecommunicator’s Role & Responsibilities in Public Safety 4
2.0 Communication Resources and Confidentiality 8
3.0 Telecommunication Systems and Technology 9
4.0 Basic Communication Skills 16
5.0 Call Classification and Procedures (Police, Fire/Rescue, & 21
EMS)
6.0 Radio Communication Techniques 27
7.0 Liability and Legal Issues 29
8.0 Stress Management 35
Bibliography 42
Recommended Resources 44
Appendices
Appendix A: Basic Emergency Call-Taking Techniques 45
Appendix B: Liability and Legal Supplement 48
Appendix C: Stress Management Handouts 53
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1.0 A Telecommunicator’s Role and Responsibilities in Public Safety
Unit Goal: The student will be able to summarize some issues involving the
telecommunicator’s role and responsibilities as a member of public safety.
1.1.1 The student will be able to define Telecommunicator.
A. Definition of Telecommunicator – a dispatcher or other emergency
communications specialist appointed under or governed by the provisions of the
Occupations Code §1701.405 (TCLEOSE, Current Commission Rules, 2003)
1. Occupations Code §1701.405(3) – Telecommunicator:
"Telecommunicator" means a person acknowledged by the commission
and employed by or serving a law enforcement agency who receives,
processes, and transmits public safety information and criminal justice
data for the agency using a base radio station on a public safety frequency
regulated by the Federal Communications Commission or by teletype or
other communications system.
1.1.2 The student will be able to define Emergency.
A. Definition of Emergency - occurrence or imminent threat of damage, injury, or
loss of life or property resulting from an extraordinary natural or man-made
cause. [Occupations Code §1701.405(A)]
1.1.3 The student will be able to define Communication.
A. Definition of Communication – any type of system in which electric or
electromagnetic signals are used to transmit information, including a system
transmitting information by means of the following: radio, light, or waves in
other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum; wire or cable; or any other
medium. [Occupations Code §1701.405(a)]
1.1.4 The student will be able to explain the roles and responsibilities of an emergency
telecommunicator at a communications center/department.
A. Roles.
1. Value of an emergency telecommunicator.
2. Goals and objectives.
B. Responsibilities.
1. Value of duties and tasks.
2. Goals and objectives.
C. Relationship with the community and public safety.
D. Relationship with agency providing law enforcement, fire, and/or EMS.
1.1.5 The student will be able to discuss the importance of ethical judgment and behavior in
telecommunications.
A. Definition of Ethics – discipline dealing with what is good and bad; moral duty
and obligation (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate On-line dictionary, 2002).
1. Ethics is concerned with the study of moral duty; it is important in that it
develops ways of understanding and learning of moral duty and right or
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wrong. Ethics is the study of the rules of the game of life. It is important
to realize that ethics is simply a field of study, because there are different
rules. People who believe that they have no duty other than to themselves
will act differently than those who believe that they have a duty to assist
other in many circumstances. Who is correct in their beliefs; and, both, or
neither? Ethics attempts to look at these differing approaches to determine
if one view is better than another and then to generate discussion and
consideration of differing views regarding the same problem.
2. Ethics are among other things, a set of rules and standards that govern
individual conduct.
B. Typical Misconceptions about Ethics.
1. Ethics is not something that good people need to worry too much about.
2. Idealism is incompatible with realism.
3. People concerned about ethics dismiss every pleasure and are just holier-
than-thou.
4. Principle subject matter of ethics is moral problems as opposed to the
formation of habits of good character.
5. If other employees are not concerned, then it is acceptable.
6. Some common examples of unethical behavior: criminal behavior, lying,
sexual harassment, cultural insensitivity, and abuse of position.
B. Standards of Conduct for State Employees.
1. Standards are relevant for emergency telecommunicators because it
articulates some minimum legal concepts of areas of concern for public
service employees.
2. As a public servant, you are expected to abide by standards of conduct
established by the Texas Legislature, the federal government, and
departmental policy. The public has entrusted you with a large
responsibility; it demands that you abide by the highest ethical standards
and is quick to criticize when you fail to live up to those standards.
3. The Texas Legislature has enacted standards of conduct for state
employees; the intent was that the standards of conduct provided “serve
not only as a guide for official conduct of those persons but also as a basis
for discipline for those who refuse to abide by its terms.”
4. Government Code 572.051 - Standards of Conduct: A state officer
employee should not:
a. Accept or solicit any gift, favor, or service that might reasonably
tend to influence the officer or employee in the discharge of
official duties or that the officer or employee knows or should
know is being offered with the intent to influence the officer’s or
employee’s official conduct.
b. Accept other employment or engage in a business or professional
activity that the officer or employee might reasonably expect
would require or induce the officer or employee to disclose
confidential information acquired by reason of the official position.
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c. Accept other employment or compensation that could reasonably
be expected to impair the officer or employee’s independence of
judgment in the performance of the officer or employee’s official
duties.
d. Make personal investments that could reasonably be expected to
create a substantial conflict between the officer’s or employee’s
private interest and the public interest.
e. Intentionally or knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any
benefit for having exercised the officer’s or employee’s official
powers or performed the officer’s or employee’s official duties in
favor of another.”
5. The Texas Ethics Commission administers and enforces provisions
relating to, among other things, the standards of conduct of state officers
and employees. They have subpoena power and can initiate their own
investigations.
D. Principles of Public Service.
1. Public Interest - public office is a trust to be used only to advance public
interests, not personal gain.
2. Objective Judgment - decisions made on the merits, free of partiality or
prejudice and unimpeded by personal bias.
3. Accountability - government is to be conducted openly, efficiently,
suitably and honorably so the public can make informed judgments and
hold public officials accountable.
4. Democracy - honor and respect democratic principles; observe letter and
spirit of laws.
5. Respectability - safeguard public confidence in integrity of government by
avoiding appearances of impropriety and conduct unbefitting a public
official.
E. Ethical Decision-Making Tools.
1. Trustworthiness
2. Integrity
3. Promise-keeping
4. Loyalty
5. Respect
6. Responsibility
7. Accountability
8. Pursuit of excellence
9. Self-restraint
10. Justice and fairness
11. Caring
12. Civic virtue and citizenship
F. Ethics Check Questions.
1. Is it legal? Will actions violate any laws, codes, or constitutional rights?
2. Is it balanced? Is my decision fair to everyone concerned?
3. How will I feel about myself? Will it withstand public scrutiny?
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G. Community’s “Expectancy of Service” vs. Litigations Filed Against the Agency.
1. Examples of actual cases or situations.
H. Refer to Your Agency/Department for Specific Guidelines.
[Note: This section was adapted from Commission course, Basic County Corrections
#1007, revised 2003.]
1.1.6 The student will be able to identify some issues involving an agency’s organizational
structure, functional relationships and duties, missions and goals, and service/geographic
area.
A. Organizational Structure.
1. Refer to your agency/department.
B. Functional Relationships and Duties.
1. Refer to your agency/department
C. Missions and Goals.
1. Refer to your agency/department.
D. Agency Service/Geographic Area.
1. Refer to your agency/department.
2. Landmarks and reference points
3. Jurisdictions.
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2.0 Communication Resources and Confidentiality
Unit Goal: The student will be able to summarize some issues involving available
resources to a telecommunicator and the importance of maintaining confidentiality.
2.1.1 The student will be able to list some resources available in a communications
department/center.
A. Directories
B. Computerized records
C. Contact information for other agencies, organizations, or services
D. Supervisors
E. Databases
F. Media, community, or other organizational outlets
G. Note or flip cards
H. Peace officers
I. Co-workers and colleagues
J. Training manuals and handbooks
K. Agency/department’s written polices and procedures
L. Other: ______________________________
2.1.2 The student will be able to explain the importance of maintaining confidentiality of
information.
A. Distinguish between public or private nature of information. (What can or cannot
be released to media, public, and other organizations.)
1. Specific topics or cases. Give examples
B. Do not discuss work related information in a personal setting
C. When in doubt:
1. Ask supervisor(s)
2. Refer to your department policy
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3.0 Telecommunication Systems and Technology
Unit Goal: The student will be able to summarize some systems and technology used in
emergency telecommunication (telephone, text telephones, computer aided dispatch
system, maps and recorders, and radio systems).
Telephone (Wired Telephone System)
3.1.1 The student will be able to describe the general configuration of a wired telephone
system.
3.1.2 The student will be able to distinguish between the mechanics of portable vs. cellular
phones, and their effects on 9-1-1 calls.
A. Portable home telephones (land-line)
B. Cellular phones [Personal Communications System (PCS)]
C. Effects on 9-1-1 calls
3.1.3 The student will be able to identify the Basic and the Enhanced 9-1-1 Systems.
A. Basic 9-1-1 System
B. Enhanced 9-1-1 System
3.1.4 The student will be able to identify an Automatic Location Identification (ALI) and an
Automatic Number Identification (ANI) system, and their relation to emergency
telecommunications.
A. HSC 772.001(1) – ALI: "Automatic location identification" means a feature
corresponding to automatic number identification by which the number provided
by the automatic number identification feature is matched with the address or
location of the telephone from which the call is made and is presented to the
public safety answering point along with the number in a computerized 9-1-1
system.
B. HSC 772.001(2) - ANI: "Automatic number identification" means a feature that
enables a service supplier to identify the telephone number of a caller and that
operates by forwarding the caller's telephone number to the public safety
answering point, where the data is received by equipment that translates it into a
visual display.
3.1.5 The student will be able to identify other terms and concepts pertaining to emergency
telecommunications. [Definitions were taken from HSC 772.001.]
A. Base rate – a rate or rates billed by a service supplier, as stated in the service
supplier's charges approved by the appropriate regulatory authority, that represent
the service supplier's recurring charges for local exchange access lines or their
equivalent, exclusive of all taxes, fees, license costs, or similar charges.
B. Dispatch method – a method of responding to a telephone request for emergency
service by which a public safety answering point decides on the proper action to
be taken and dispatches, when necessary, the appropriate emergency service unit
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C. Local exchange access lines - all types of lines or trunks that connect a service
user to the service supplier's local telephone exchange office.
D. 9-1-1 service –a telecommunications service through which the user of a public
telephone system has the ability to reach a public safety answering point by
dialing the digits 9-1-1. A system of processing emergency 9-1-1 calls.
E. Participating jurisdiction – a public agency that by vote consents to receive 9-1-
1 service from an emergency communication district.
F. Principal service supplier - the entity that provides the most central office lines
to an emergency communication district.
G. Private safety entity - a private entity that provides emergency fire-fighting,
ambulance, or medical services.
H. Public agency - a municipality or county in this state that provides or has
authority to provide fire-fighting, law enforcement, ambulance, medical, or other
emergency services.
I. Public safety agency - the division of a public agency that provides fire-fighting,
law enforcement, ambulance, medical, or other emergency services.
J. Public safety answering point - a communications facility that is:
1. Operated continuously;
2. Assigned the responsibility to receive 9-1-1 calls and, as appropriate, to
dispatch emergency response services directly or to transfer or relay
emergency 9-1-1 calls to other public safety agencies;
3. The first point of reception by a public safety agency of a 9-1-1 call; and
4. Serves the jurisdictions in which it is located or other participating
jurisdictions.
K. Relay method - the method of responding to a telephone request for emergency
service by which a public safety answering point notes pertinent information and
relays that information to the appropriate public safety agency or other provider of
emergency services for appropriate action.
L. Selective routing - the feature provided with computerized 9-1-1 service by
which 9-1-1 calls are automatically routed to the answering point serving the
place from which the call originates.
M. Service supplier - an entity providing local exchange access lines to a service
user in an emergency communication district.
N. Service user - a person that is provided local exchange access lines, or their
equivalent, in an emergency communication district.
O. Transfer method - the method of responding to a telephone request for
emergency service by which a public safety answering point transfers the call
directly to the appropriate public safety agency or other provider of emergency
services for appropriate action.
P. Data base - the information stored in a management system that is a system of
manual procedures and computer programs used to create, store, and update the
data required for the selective routing and automatic location identification
features in the provision of computerized 9-1-1 service.
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Q. Business service user - a user of business service that provides
telecommunications service, including 9-1-1 service, to end users through a
publicly or privately owned telephone switch.
R. Business service - a telecommunications service classified as a business service
under rules adopted by the Public Utility Commission of Texas or under the
applicable tariffs of the principal service supplier.
S. Other: ______________________________________________________
T. Refer to your department policies and procedures manual for more definitions.
3.1.6 The student will be able to identify some methods for tracing a call.
A. Equipment.
B. Basic guideline for tracing calls.
3.1.7 The student will be able to demonstrate the methods for using a wired telephone system.
Text Telephones (TTYs) for the Speech/Hearing Impaired
3.2.1 The student will be able to identify the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) involving public safety and emergency telecommunications.
A. ADA and public safety.
B. ADA and 9-1-1 system.
C. State requirements
D. Refer to your department policies and procedures.
3.2.2 The student will be able to explain some issues involving individuals who are deaf, hard-
of-hearing, and/or speech impaired.
A. Special needs/issues.
B. Necessary equipment to meet State and Federal law.
C. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.2.2 The student will be able to explain the types of technology and systems used for
providing TTY access and their basic operating functions.
A. Systems and Technology.
B. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.2.3 The student will be able to explain the Baudot and ASCII signaling used in text
telephones.
A. Baudot.
B. ASCII.
C. Impact on 9-1-1 service.
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3.2.4 The student will be able to identify some methods for handling a call requiring text
communication.
A. Identification of incoming TTY calls.
B. Basic guideline on etiquette and protocols.
C. Transmission difficulties.
1. Causes.
2. Solutions.
3.2.5 The student will be able to demonstrate the methods for using a text telephone.
.
Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Systems
3.3.1. The student will be able to distinguish between a CAD and a mobile data system.
A. CAD.
1. Design and basic components.
2. Operation/functions
3. Advantages vs. disadvantages.
B. Mobile data system.
1. Design and basic components.
2. Operation/functions
3. Advantages vs. disadvantages.
C. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.3.2 The student will be able to identify the components of a CAD and how they relate to
other computer systems.
A. Unit status.
B. Unit recommendations.
C. TLETS/TCIC/NCIC interface.
D. Automatic functions.
E. Location history.
F. Automatic prioritizing of calls.
G. Emergency message communications.
H. Other: ________________________________________________________
I. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.3.3 The student will be able to explain some methods for handling problems with a CAD
system and/or a mobile data system.
A. Basic guideline.
B. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.3.4 The student will be able to demonstrate the methods for using CAD and mobile data
systems.
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Maps and Recorders
3.4.1 The student will be able to identify the various types of mapping tools utilized in a
communications department/center.
A. Mapping equipment.
B. Purpose: to provide assistance in locating callers and tracking responders.
C. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.4.2 The student will be able to identify some types of recording equipment utilized in a
communications department/center.
A. Recording equipment or logging recorders.
B. Purpose: to help assist in documenting conversations transmitted over phone or
radio.
C. Functions.
D. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.4.3 The student will be able to demonstrate the methods for using maps and recorders.
Radio Communications and Technologies
3.5.1 The student will be able to identify the various types of radio communication systems.
A. Simplex.
B. Half-duplex.
C. Repeater system.
D. Interagency systems:
1. Mobile to mobile
2. Mobile to base
3. Base to mobile
4. Base to base
E. Texas law enforcement interagency radio system (intercity).
F. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.5.2 The student will be able to define terms and concepts associated with radio technology.
A. Definitions.
B. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
3.5.3 The student will be able to explain the functions and operations of a radio.
A. Functions.
B. Operations.
C. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
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3.5.4 The student will be able to list some Federal Communications (FCC) requirements of
emergency telecommunication.
A. FCC rules that govern the use of public airways.
B. FCC rules that govern Public Safety Communications Center radio systems.
C. FCC licenses for radio “stations.”
D. Radio frequencies for departments/call centers.
E. Refer to your department’s policies and procedures.
.
3.5.5 The student will be able to demonstrate the methods of radio communications and
technologies.
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4.0 Basic Communication Skills
Unit Goal: The student will be able to summarize the process of applying effective basic
communication skills.
[Refer to Appendix “A” for Basic Emergency Call-Taking Techniques.]
4.1.1 The student will be able to list some types of ACTIVE listening techniques.
A. Emotion Labeling.
1. Example: “You sound really angry about that.”
2. The first active listening skill to be used in an incident.
3. Respond to the emotion heard, not the content.
4. Demonstrates that you are really listening and tuned into what the subject
is emotionally experiencing.
5. Do not tell a person how they are feeling, but how they seem or sound like
they are feeling to you.
B. Paraphrasing.
1. Example: “Are you telling me … Are you saying …?”
2. Give the story back to them in your words.
3. Demonstrates you are listening.
4. A summary in your words of what you were just told.
5. Creates empathy and rapport because it demonstrates you have heard and
understand.
6. Creates empathy and rapport, clarifies content, allows you to obtain
additional intelligence.
C. Reflecting/Mirroring.
1. Example: “She said she was going to leave with your grandson?”
2. Repeating back the last word or phrase the subject just said. (Be careful,
this technique can be overused.)
3. Gives feedback that is very exact.
D. Effective Pauses.
1. Silence.
2. Most people are not comfortable with silence and fill it with talk.
3. Use of silence:
a. When you are about to say something important
b. When you have said something important
4. Caller will feel obligated to keep talking – say something.
5. Can only be used once rapport has been established.
E. Minimal Encouragers.
1. Examples: “Uh huh?”, “And?”, “OK”, “All right”, “I see”, “Really?”
2. The sounds you make especially on the telephone, to let the other person
know you are there and listening.
3. May be short questions such as “Oh?” and “When?”
4. Help build rapport.
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F. “I” Messages.
1. Example: “I really feel uncomfortable with you holding that gun to
yourself.” Or, “I want to help, but you’re really starting to scare me.”
2. Enables you to let the subject know how they are making you feel, why
you feel that way, and what they can do to remedy the situation.
3. Humanize yourself to the caller.
4. Convey your message in a non-threatening manner.
G. Open Ended Questions.
1. Examples: “What upset you so much tonight?”, “What happened to make
you feel this way?”
2. Questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no answer.
3. Gets the subject to start talking.
4. Gets you away from “just the facts” (like Joe Friday would say).
4.1.2 The student will be able to identify some methods of effective communication.
A. Receiving, extracting, and disseminating information with total accuracy.
1. Receive – listen to details of situation.
2. Extract data – document all pertinent details of situation (dictation/note
taking)
3. Disseminate facts – deliver the information to respective individual (s) via
telephone or written communication.
B. Barriers to Good Listening.
1. Acting as judge and jury - you can’t be involved in judging and hear the
whole story.
2. Tuning-in vs. Tuning-out - if you’re not paying attention, you’re missing
information.
3. Turning off ideas you don’t agree with - when your mind closes, so do
your ears.
4. Jumping to conclusions - listening involves entering into the other
person’s frame of reference. Don’t get caught up in your own
assumptions. Be message-minded, not image-minded.
5. Active vs. Passive.
6. Image vs. Message.
7. The optic nerve is 25 times stronger than aural nerve. In other words,
there is a very strong bias toward vision (as opposed to hearing).
8. Self-consciousness.
9. Inability to concentrate.
10. Programming – hearing what we want, are expecting, or are taught to hear.
C. Effective Intervention Techniques.
1. Work toward getting the caller to express the emotion they are feeling.
2. Put actions in perspective.
3. Express personal concern and empathy.
4. Encourage the caller to tell their story.
5. Bide for time.
6. Use active listening skills.
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D. Tone of Voice.
1. A calm voice causes the other party to concentrate on listening and not on
preparing a reply.
2. A soothing voice allows the caller to believe that they are in a friendly
atmosphere and that they are more likely to get help.
E. Journalistic/Investigative Approach.
1. Questions:
a. Where?
b. What?
c. Who?
d. When?
e. How?
f. Why? *Caution*
g. Weapon?
2. Where is the emergency? It may be a different location than where the
call is coming from.
3. What is the emergency? What responders are needed? (police, EMS, fire)
4. Who is involved? (victims, suspects, witnesses)
5. When did it happen? Was there a time delay?
6. Why did it happen? Was there a motive?
7. How did it happen? (specific details)
8. Was a weapon used or observed?
F. Use of Active Listening Skills.
1. Creates an environment for positive change.
2. Allows the telecommunicator to respond to the emotional needs of the
caller.
3. Allows the telecommunicator to listen to the caller, and have the caller
know that the call-taker is actually listening to and understanding him/her.
4. Allows time to pass positively, builds rapport, gains intelligence.
4.1.3 The student will be able to explain some important considerations of good
communication and call-taking during a crisis situation.
A. After identifying himself/herself, express a desire to help the subject.
B. An important goal of a telecommunicator should be to buy time.
Reasons for buying time:
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
2. Increases rationality
3. Decreases emotions
4. Possibility that caller “surrenders”
5. Telecommunicator can gather intelligence for better decision-making and
relay to responding law enforcement and EMS personnel
6. Reduces expectation of the caller
7. Allows for a rapport to build between the caller and the telecommunicator
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8. Increases the caller’s basic needs (food, drink, sleep, bathroom, need to
talk to a loved one, etc. - in others words, distractions and reasons for
survival)
C. Be calm, but firm. Example: “Calm down and listen to me.”
D. Be prepared to hear anything ranging from complete silence to loud and abusive
ranting. The telecommunicator should not respond to barrages of verbal abuse,
and should maintain a perfect picture of calmness.
E. Nothing is best left unsaid except words spoken in anger. To know what someone
is thinking is to know how that person feels, and that is the first step toward
understanding. We can’t help each other if we don’t understand each other’s
needs.
F. The telecommunicator should also show empathy (i.e., understanding) for what
the subject is saying by responding to the subject in a non-critical way.
G. The telecommunicator should not attempt to make light of what the subject is
saying or respond to verbal abuse with verbal abuse. This is not always easy, and
requires a great deal of discipline. It is only through this showing of empathy that
the subject can be convinced to surrender or abandon his suicidal plan.
H. Telecommunicators’ responsibilities to law enforcement and EMS personnel:
1. Give pre-arrival medical instructions, survival instructions, and/or
instructions to the caller in order to preserve physical evidence.
2. Update pertinent information to responders. Keep your police officers
informed of any changes, weapons, dangerous circumstance, etc. Help the
officers be prepared - eliminate surprises for them.
3. Provide a reasonable standard of care to your caller.
4.1.4 The student will b


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