APD does not require proficient typing skills (thank god I never would have been hired as a dispatcher if they did) and thus many if not all of the dispatchers usually write the info down on scrap paper then enter it into the cad and discard the paper at the end of shift.
The cad system itself also comes into play, many of you have already seen my rants on the QED cad system. A more user friendly cad maybe windows based would make it easier to enter the info directly into cad provided the software and system was setup correctly to make this a more feasible idea.
I don't see how you can have a completely paperless dispatch much of the information you receive as a call taker and dispatcher is pertinent to the call but may not have a field in the cad system for the entry.
Running WMS and license checks: it's easier to jot it down, run it through leaps etc then enter the correct information into the cad.
We do a little of each, there is no S.O.P. that says we have to do it one way or another. Depends on how slow the computer is running that night. I prefer to enter the call directly into C.A.D. I feel that it works better for me. The other dispatcher that works the same shift as me does everything on paper before he enters it into C.A.D.
No policy here either, but everyone, including myself, types it into the CAD as we hear it. Writing it down first is only delaying the process in my opinion. I understand though if your CAD system is crap or you don't have a CAD system. We do have 1 older employee going into his 33rd year of dispatching who tends to write down alot of stuff... We do have pen and papaer on our desks for miscellaneous notes or in case we run out of room in our ticket. We can then pull up another screen and add those notes as additional comments to the call.
At one agency I work for PT the Director is adamant about "not writing it down! it MUST be typed into the CAD as it happens" ya, F*%K that. Its impossible unless you have 3 hands...in these cases you answer "yes sir..of course sir..." and then go back to doing it the way it works..jot it down and then enter it when you have a free minute.
It can be done, as long as thats the only thing going on at the moment, but when you have another phone ringing, people walking into the station, or its a flat out shitstorm on the other end of the line, I find it easier to jot down the essential info I'm going to relay to the cars, then enter in a good looking narrative into the CAD when things calm down.
See, I prefer to type when it's total chaos. I type much faster then I can write. (Not to mention it's legible as opposed to my handwriting) And If I can dedicate my 2 hands to typing while listening to the caller, it's that much faster I can get the next incoming line that's ringing. But in this case, there isn't a right and wrong as long as things are done as fast and as accurate as possible.
We use IMC and I find it's a lot easier and faster to write things down first before you enter it into the system. It also makes things easier to refer to a piece of paper for any ?s to previous calls that you've had in that shift.
Just to add to this topic!! I'm sure it depends on the CAD system your using. I have seen some that are extemely user friendly and it allows you speedy entry, others I have seen are very hard to work with and will actually be slow.... Just my bits..
I also think it depends on the set up you have in your center.
There are still alot of centers in MA that have just one dispatcher taking all calls and dispatching for police, fire, ems, dpw and so on, plus dealing with walk-ins. That can make it harder to type directly into the CAD.
Places like Springfield where they have 4-5 call takers and 2 dispatchers and they ONLY take police calls it is easier for the call takers to type it into the CAD.
Either way with some proper training, typing courses (paid for by the dept) and patients I think typing directly into the CAD can be done.
I also like the notes, I can refer to them much quicker. I keep my notes for 3 years then they are used to help me start a romantic fire in my fire place nfire: . This has been great because I have had questions asked a day or two later and I just flip through and there is the info they are looking for.
Everyone here (combined Police/Fire/EMS, plus lobby traffic) scribbles info on a piece of paper, and starts their CAD entry right after. We are not mandated to do it one way or another, as long as all of the incidents make it into Pamet with unit dispatched/arrived/etc. times as close to exact as possible. I usually start my incident, dispatch cars, and fill in the blanks as I have time.
I usually write it down first...that way if I have to look up the info in any of our other in-house around the office or run parties I can pick it up and take it with me. There is no rule about it...it is basically preference. I also like writing it down in case our computer gets shady and mysteriously deletes something :-k
Down here there is no policy either we do it both ways,either paper first or enter it as the caller is on the line its almost about the same unless you are getting a novel story,then i'd go with the paper also,other then that i just type as they say.
The same as everyone else, it doesn't matter here either. Sometimes I do it as I hear it and sometimes I jot it down on paper then enter it. Both are good ways and both are easy enough, just depends on what else is going on at the time.