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Working environment

Call frequency

There are several factors such as time of day, day of week, seasons, events and weather that can influence operational activity levels within the State Emergency Communications Centres. There can be extended periods of time, such as in the early hours of the morning, where very few calls are received. Conversely, it can be extremely busy as a result of a significant event such as a storm, a large building fire or a serious road accident.

Call types

One of the unique features of the work environment is the variety of calls that we receive. Calls for emergency assistance include, among other things, road traffic accidents and rescue, industrial and workplace accidents and an extensive range of medical conditions such as cardiac arrest and asthma. 

Other events include structural and grass fires, crime, personal violence and disturbances.

Some individuals can experience feelings of anxiety due to the uncertainty of not knowing what the next call may be. We often experience calls from people who are highly emotional and have difficulty communicating their needs. Call-takers and dispatchers are required to remain calm and focused throughout such events.


Because events can occur at any time of the day or night, shiftwork in our environment is an operational necessity. Upon successful completion of training, call-takers and dispatchers are assigned to a team which follows a set roster pattern. You should take into consideration that shiftwork may present some individuals with difficulties and challenges when you try to balance your personal, educational, social and professional commitments with the responsibilities associated with ESTA employment. Please think carefully about how shiftwork will impact on you and your family and what personal support networks are available to you to assist you in managing these responsibilities and your other personal commitments.

Please click on the following links to see examples of rosters for full-time call-takers and dispatchers.

Ambulance and Fire Call-takers and Dispatchers - Burwood East
Police Call-takers and Dispatchers - CBD
Police Call-takers - Ballarat
Fire Call-takers and Dispatchers - Ballarat