The ability to multitask is invaluable.
Dispatchers answer emergency calls but also are assigned a specific radio, be it Charleston police traffic radio or the county ambulance authority, for dispatch.
A dispatcher could answer on the 13 non-emergency lines, and then have a police officer radio in with a traffic stop or pursuit. The dispatcher has to prioritize and think quickly.
"The officers, our police, fire and paramedics, are the most important, but you can't put off your caller," Ellis said. "You have to be able to multitask.
"That's also where your staff, your coworkers, come in."
Bennett said dispatchers often assist each other by taking calls.
"Nobody will let you down," she said.
The starting pay at Metro is $25,000 a year but that could go up with built-in overtime. The position offers health insurance with dental and vision and a $50,000 life insurance plan.
The center takes calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Emergencies don't take holidays off and neither does 911.
Brooke Hylbert, a human resources officer at Metro, said employees are covered under the state Public Employees Retirement System. Employees contribute 4.5 percent of their paychecks and Metro kicks in 14 percent.
New employees undergo a six-week training course. Then they enter their year of on-the-job training with a dispatcher where they learn about the computer system and the geography of the county.
The rookie dispatcher's pay goes up to $28,000 per year, or $32,400 with scheduled overtime, after training with dispatchers and passing all training requirements.
Applicants must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Hylbert said a basic spelling test and typing test must also be completed.
Applications are available at the center, 200 Peyton Way in Charleston, or online at www.metro911.org.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.