Unit of competency details

PUAECO002A - Process emergency incident calls and enquiries (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PUAECO002 - Process emergency incident calls and enquiries 15/Jul/2019

ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 17/Aug/2012
(View details for release 1) 09/Feb/2011

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
HLT31015 - Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)Superseded
HLT40121 - Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health CareCertificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health CareCurrent
PUA33012 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)Superseded1-4 
HLT41015 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications (Dispatch)Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications (Dispatch)Superseded
PUA33010 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)Superseded
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091105 Police Studies  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091105 Police Studies  03/Dec/2012 
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Modification History

PUAECO002A Release 2: Layout adjusted. No changes to content.

PUAECO002A Release 1: Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the competency required to receive and respond to incoming calls and enquiries in an emergency communications centre or an information hotline.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to personnel who process emergency calls for assistance and routine enquiries in an emergency communications centre.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance Criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the Range Statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Receive incoming incident calls/enquiries 

1.1 Routine and emergency incident calls /enquiries  are answered promptly using standard agency answering protocols and telephony system, related equipment  and computer aided dispatch system, in accordance with organisational policies and procedures. 

1.2 Relevant information of the caller/incident/enquiry is established  in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

1.3 Factors which may affect the caller's ability to provide accurate information  are assessed and taken into consideration.

1.4 Type of incident call /enquiry  is determined quickly and accurately, and call authenticity is determined, in accordance with organisational protocols.

1.5 Details  of the incident call/enquiry are obtained and accurately logged , in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

1.6 Appropriate response is ensured by interacting with other relevant personnel.

2. Provide information to caller/s in possible danger 

2.1 Potential danger  to caller/s is assessed quickly and accurately.

2.2 Safety information appropriate to the situation and caller's needs  is communicated clearly.

3. Locate an incident 

3.1 Organisation's area/s of operational responsibility is identified.

3.2 Appropriate directories, maps  and databases are used to find incident location/s.

3.3 Calls/enquiries are concluded  in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

4. Action received request 

4.1 Request for assistance is actioned in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

4.2 Information  is summarised and communicated  using clear and appropriate language, in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

4.3 Follow-up procedures and notifications to other emergency services or agencies are implemented as required.

5. Operate equipment 

5.1 Appropriate equipment  is chosen for the task, context and needs of the incident.

5.2 Equipment is used and operated safely in accordance with organisational and manufacturer's instructions.

5.3 Faulty equipment is identified and reported in accordance with organisational policies and procedures, and alternative strategies are employed when necessary.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required Skills 

  • accurately record and relay information
  • apply relevant organisational policies and procedures to support appropriate response decisions
  • control the conversation to ensure necessary information is obtained from the caller
  • deal with difficult and distressed callers
  • communicate orally and in writing
  • use telephony equipment, radios, computer systems and associated software
  • employ fault bypass procedures
  • maintain readiness in periods of low operational activity
  • read and interpret basic maps to identify location of incident
  • respond calmly to multiple demands in high operational activity
  • type with speed/accuracy in accordance with organisational specifications
  • use appropriate questioning techniques
  • use codes, abbreviations or specialist terminology in the transmission of information
  • use equipment designed to receive incoming incident calls/enquiries in accordance with organisational and supplier procedures
  • use equipment relating to incident/information management
  • use language appropriate to the caller
  • use voice procedures consistent with organisational procedural requirements

Required Knowledge 

  • area of operations
  • codes, abbreviations or specialist terminology used by the organisation when receiving or taking action in response to incoming incident calls/enquiries
  • communications equipment used in the management of incidents and non operational enquiries
  • telephone communication techniques such as responding to queries clearly and concisely; ensuring appropriate referral processes are followed; exercising discretion and confidentially; taking follow-up steps where appropriate; displaying empathy; effectively handling caller behaviour (such as aggressive, angry, controlled, distressed, hysterical, passive, scared, timid); effectively responding to callers whose first language is not English or who have difficulties with the English language; effectively responding to the age of the caller; questioning caller in such a way that allows the caller to respond in a timely manner; using open and closed questioning
  • organisational policies, procedures and practices
  • organisational resources such as aerial appliances (hydraulic/telescopic ladder, hydraulic platform, combination ladder/platform); aircraft (helicopters and fixed wing); special appliances ( hazardous materials response vehicles, specialist rescue vehicles, special materials carriers [foam, breathing apparatus], command and control vehicles); vehicles (pumpers/tankers/combinations; heavy, medium, light; four-wheel drive)
  • relevant legislation and regulation
  • stress management techniques
  • time management techniques
  • types of emergencies (with regards to relevant legislation)

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Assessment must confirm the ability to:

  • recognise the difference between routine and emergency incident calls/enquiries
  • effectively handle incident calls/enquiries
  • use techniques to obtain information in as short a time as possible
  • take appropriate action in accordance with organisational procedures as a result of the incoming incident call/enquiry
  • use relevant technology for the recording of requests for assistance/enquiries in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

Consistency in performance 

Competency should be demonstrated over time during emergency communications centre operations or simulated operations that include critical and non-critical situations across a range of different callers, types of emergencies and level of activity.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Context of assessment 

Competency should be assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace environment under conditions expected in the workplace.

Specific resources for assessment 

Access is required to:

  • agency protocol documentation
  • back-up systems
  • operations and systems manuals
  • organisational documentation
  • relevant databases
  • telephony system
  • training databases, where available
  • training manual
  • workplace expert/s.

Method of assessment 

This unit may be assessed with the following units:

  • PUAECO001A Operate telephony systems
  • PUAECO003A Operate and control radio networks
  • PUAECO004A Operate computer aided dispatch system.

In a public safety environment assessment is usually conducted via direct observation in a training environment or in the workplace via subject matter supervision and/or mentoring, which is typically recorded in a competency workbook.

Assessment is completed using appropriately qualified assessors who select the most appropriate method of assessment.

Assessment may occur in an operational environment or in an industry-approved simulated work environment. Forms of assessment that are typically used include:

  • direct observation
  • interviewing the candidate
  • journals and workplace documentation
  • third party reports from supervisors
  • written or oral questions.

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording in the Performance Criteria is detailed below.

Routine and emergency incident calls/enquiries  may include:

  • administrative queries
  • requests for general organisational information
  • requests for help in critical situations
  • requests for help in non-critical situations

Related equipment  may include:

  • computers (data transfer from other agencies)
  • electronic indicators (such as fire alarms)
  • paging systems
  • radio
  • telephonic services

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • mutual aid, memorandum of understanding with other agency/s
  • organisation's approach to environmental management and sustainability
  • procedures which concern the operations of the organisation in an emergency situation
  • procedures which are not of an emergency nature but may affect the organisation's operations in an emergency
  • procedures which form part of the day-to-day running of the organisation
  • procedures which concern the operations of other agencies, services and organisations which may be required to attend emergency situations

Establishing relevant information of the caller/incident/enquiry  may include:

  • active listening skills (such as clarifying, giving full attention to the caller, maintaining contact with the caller and prompts, summarising, using open questions)
  • appropriately responding to cultural diversity and people with specific needs
  • controlling the call
  • effective communication skills, techniques and resources
  • questioning techniques

Factors which may affect the caller's ability to provide accurate information  may include:

  • ability to speak
  • age
  • call difficulties such as call being disconnected
  • impact of alcohol or drugs
  • knowledge of the area (for example, a tourist may have limited knowledge)
  • language spoken
  • level of distress
  • mental health

Type of incident call/enquiry  may include:

  • alarm
  • motor vehicle accident
  • rescue
  • structure
  • vegetation

Details of the incident call/enquiry  may include:

  • address
  • caller name and phone number
  • location:
  • commonplace name
  • cross streets
  • distinguishing features
  • landmarks
  • latitude and longitude
  • marine chart
  • nearest intersection
  • position in street
  • rural addressing
  • suburb, town, city
  • street number
  • type

Logging incident calls/enquiries  may include:

  • checking permit log and plotted fires
  • creating incident file and verifying and saving details
  • liaising with fire towers
  • making appropriate records
  • phoning alarmed premises

Potential danger  may include:

  • danger from animals, building debris or dangerous goods and hazardous substances
  • factors associated with caller health or wellbeing such as being older or having a physical disability which may mean the caller is not able to evacuate; language difficulties; panic and shock
  • factors which may impact on caller's ability to reach safety:
  • ability to speak
  • effects of alcohol and/or drugs
  • age
  • knowledge of the area/location
  • language/s spoken
  • level of distress
  • mental health
  • telephone difficulties such as call being disconnected
  • smoke inhalation
  • structural collapse
  • vehicle ignition

Safety information appropriate to the situation and caller's needs  may include:

  • drop to floor to reach exit
  • immediate evacuation in accordance with building evacuation plan
  • leave area by recommended route
  • stand in an identified location to wait for the appliance and fire crew
  • use appropriate protective clothing

Maps  may include

  • books of maps
  • computer-generated maps
  • road maps
  • street directories
  • topographical maps
  • tourist maps

Concluding calls/enquires  may include:

  • confirmation of response
  • reassurance
  • pre-arrival instructions

Information  may include:

  • environmental factors
  • factors affecting agency's operational readiness
  • risks associated with the incident
  • topography
  • weather conditions

Summarising and communicating information  may include:

  • informing other public safety agencies and relevant stakeholders about the response
  • maintaining liaison with colleagues
  • notifying senior management and other organisations as required
  • providing information pre-arrival of the emergency service/s

Equipment  may include:

  • computer back-up systems
  • computer hardware - other than the organisation's primary computer hardware system (such as portable computers)
  • computer software - other than the organisation's primary computer software program/s (such as mapping programs, word processing, hazardous materials databases)
  • facsimile
  • landline, mobile and satellite telephones - other than the organisation's primary telephone system
  • pager systems
  • printers
  • recording equipment
  • remotely controlled fire station equipment
  • security equipment
  • signalling devices (such as alarm telemetry equipment)

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.