Department of Public Safety Communications

CONTACT INFORMATION: FOR EMERGENCIES CALL 9-1-1! (From outside of Fairfax County call 703-691-2233) or To Report a Non-Emergency Incident Call 703-691-2131.
703-691-2131 TTY 711 (See Contacts Page for Administrative Listings)
4890 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
Scott Brillman

Public Safety Communications Training Academy

The role of a Fairfax County 9-1-1 call taker or dispatcher is often described as “a job like no other.” The ability to answer emergency calls, communicate effectively and help people in distress navigate stressful emergency situations while dispatching essential services requires intelligence, people skills and extensive training.

Newly hired Fairfax County 9-1-1 personnel attend a paid, 12 week academy. Trainees must not be engaged in outside employment until they have successfully completed the Academy and their probationary period.  The Department of Public Safety Communications Public Safety Communications Training Academy is a nationally recognized 9-1-1 training academy that provides classes on:

  • Customer Service
  • Telephone Techniques
  • Call Processing
  • Public Safety Telephone System
  • Law Enforcement and Fire/Rescue Event Types
  • Animal Control
  • Police Department and Fire Department Organization
  • Fairfax County Laws and Ordinances
  • Fairfax County and Regional Geography
  • Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD)
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)
  • Physical and Mental Wellness

In addition to the PSCAD curriculum, during the 12 week academy, there is a 2 week Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Basic Communication School (BCS). Students must pass the course with a 100% score. BCS contains the following classes:

  • Stress Management
  • Liability and Negligence
  • BCS Telephone Communications
  • BCS Customer Service
  • “The Suicidal Caller”
  • Virginia Laws and Ordinances
  • Radio Procedures
  • Courtroom Procedures
  • Disaster Communications and Disaster Plans
  • Ethics
  • Cultural Diversity

Over the course of initial training, all students must obtain the below certifications:

  • DCJS – BCS
  • Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) Level-C
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD)
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) 100B & 700A

It is imperative that students study on a daily basis and use all resources provided to them at the academy. Exams are based on all classroom instruction and students must pass each with an 80% or 85% depending on the type of exam given. Students are allowed one retake in PSCAD that can be used on a written exam. Students who fail two exams (to include the one retake) will be separated from DPSC.


PSCAD Course Objectives

  1. Familiarity with personnel rules and regulations as they apply to DPSC
  2. Identification of proper uniform requirements as outlined in the standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  3. Ability to explain the functions of DPSC employees
  4. Identification of the Police Department organizational structure
  5. Identification of the Fire and Rescue Department organizational structure
  6. Demonstration of appropriate techniques used to answer calls in DPSC
  7. Demonstration of appropriate use of the DPSC telephone system
  8. Demonstration of appropriate use of the CAD system
  9. Identification and demonstration of the use of call taker CAD commands and their functions
  10. Identification of the phonetic alphabet
  11. Identification and demonstration of the use of the CAD event entry mask
  12. Demonstration of the various acceptable location formats for CAD entries
  13. Ability to accurately process and enter all events using correct event types and subtypes
  14. Demonstrate using the EMD system to including providing appropriate pre arrival instructions for EMS calls
  15. Identification and understanding of common laws and ordinances and the way they relate to event types
  16. Ability to recognize jurisdictional authority and boundaries within Fairfax County
  17. Ability to identify and list the commonly used route numbers and street names within Fairfax County
  18. Identification of major roadways and limited access highways, bridges, malls, hospitals police stations and fire stations within Fairfax County

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