Telephone Personnel are very important, and should be carefully screened. Discretion is vital, as very sensitive information may be received by phone volunteers and runners. A phone bank supervisor must be available at all times. Only trained personnel should answer the phones. A calm and comforting manner is required, and related experience is preferred. Police or Fire dispatcher experience is ideal, but reception or related work in hotline or counseling services is also beneficial. If necessary, local police or fire services can give whirlwind training to volunteers.
To avoid having trained personnel abandoning the phone lines, a runner should be used to deliver messages.
Schedule experienced phone operators to work alongside new volunteers. Note that people will have family conflicts - allow for these. If you can't get good operators, it is better to temporarily forward the calls or go to a recording system. Establish a small reliable group with a routine as soon as possible.
Normally phone operations will slow down after 6 PM, then peak after the 10 PM news. Identify peaks/valleys for your particular case and plan accordingly. 24 hour coverage may be needed as events warrant.