IV. The Phone

There are five telephones in the office, two of which are in the dispatcher area. During a shift, the dispatcher trainee sits behind the desk and answers the phone located there. Each time the phone rings, the dispatcher should pick up the other phone (near the computer) and listen on the line. This ensures that the information that the trainee gets from the caller is complete and accurate.

The Lines

The squad uses three lines:

  • 718.951.5858 is the emergency line, where most calls come in (but emergencies can be on any of the three lines).
  • 718.951.5859 is the line used for squad business.
  • 718.951.5850 is for personal calls.

Do not use any line other than 5850 for personal calls. If the line is already being used, you cannot make a call until the other person hangs up. If you expect someone to call you, be sure to give him or her that number. As the dispatcher or trainee, if a personal call comes in for anyone on 5858 or 5859, please ask the caller to call back on 5850. For all personal calls, the time limit is five minutes. If you see that someone is using the line for a longer period of time (or if someone is making a call on any line except 5850), don't hesitate to tell that person to drop the line.

Using the Phone

When the phone rings, a light will go on near the line that the call is coming in through. The phone must be answered before the fourth ring or the voice-mail will answer it. To answer the phone, depress the lighted button and pick up the receiver. The correct (and only) way to answer the phone (regardless of which line is lit) is: "Emergency Medical, may I help you?"

To make a call within Brooklyn College, press the 5850 button (or 5859 if it is squad business) and the button will light up. You just need to dial the four-digit extension. To call outside the college, dial "9" and then the seven-digit number.


Besides emergency calls, the dispatcher often answers personal calls. Once the caller has asked for someone, ask who is calling and tell the caller that you will see if that member is in. Put the caller on hold. If the person is in, tell him or her who is calling and on what line. If the person is not in the office, tell the caller that you can take a message. When taking a message, use the pads that are available on the desk and be sure to include:

  • The caller's name and organization (if applicable)
  • The caller's phone number
  • The message (if any)
  • Your name (so that the person can refer to you if there are any questions)
  • The date and time that the call came in

After the message is complete, fold the paper in half and write the person's name on the outside. Place the message on the bulletin board near the desk or in the squad member's box.

Other Kinds of Calls

Occasionally, you will receive unusual requests over the phone. People may call asking for another office in the college. Though we do have a telephone directory, you are not an operator and you should not feel obliged to give out phone numbers. Especially if you are busy, it is sufficient to tell the caller that you cannot transfer calls within Brooklyn College and that the number for the operator is 718.951.5000. If someone calls for information on a patient, do not give it out. Each person treated by BC-EMS is entitled to confidentiality. Refer all such requests to BC-50 or BC-51.