911 call receiver applications on the decline in Spokane County

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -Fewer 911 call receivers are applying for jobs across the country and in the Inland Northwest, and it's putting emergency call centers in a crunch.

According to Spokane County 911, applications for the position are down 18 percent from last year.

"It's a difficult job finding people that want to apply," said 911 Operations Manager, Amy McCormick. "That has always been a struggle and we're continuing to see that trend across the nation when it comes to hiring difficulties."

McCormick says aside from long hours and low pay, the job can be very stressful.

"You're dealing with traumatic events," said McCormick. "People call 911 usually once in their lifetime and it's their worst day."

Shifts for call receivers can last up to 12 hours. Starting pay is $38,625 a year, which is around $7,000 less than the average pay in Spokane County. And with the national unemployment rate dropping to 3.9 percent, labor shortages are making it especially hard to fill those jobs.

McCormick says there is not a shortage of call receivers in Spokane County. There are currently 51 call receivers and McCormick says they budget for 52. While call receivers are answering the phone in less than 10 seconds, McCormick is always hiring because it takes four to six weeks to fill a position followed by four months of training.

"I think it's a great job for people that want to help the public that have really strong customer service skills," said McCormick. "Because it's all about providing good service to the public."

To learn more about the job and how to apply, click here.

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