Legislation to reclassify 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers as members of the public safety community is now under consideration in both the U.S. House and Senate.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Thune (R-SD), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Angus King (I-ME) have introduced a Senate version of the bill, the Enhancing First Response Act (S. 3556); and Reps. Norma Torres (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) are sponsoring the House version, the Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services Act (911 SAVES Act, H.R. 6319).
This legislation would reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators as a “Protective Service Occupation” in the federal government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC currently categorizes 9-1-1 professionals as “Office and Administrative Support Occupations,” along with office clerks and taxicab dispatchers. This is based on an outdated, misinformed view of the work that we do. On any given day, 9-1-1 specialists may initiate life-saving protocols and provide emergency medical instructions; deal with suicidal persons; coordinate the dispatch and safe arrival of police, fire, and EMS personnel; and play critical roles in a variety of emergencies, from traffic accidents to large-scale disasters. They receive extensive, specialized training and use complex systems unlike anything used in most administrative and clerical positions.
The 911 SAVES Act would cost nothing to implement but would give 9-1-1 professionals the respect they deserve, as well as greater equity in benefits such as mental health support and the ability to apply for government grants. Reclassification also would also aid research into the mental and physical impacts of 9-1-1 jobs.
The bill has broad support from the 9-1-1 community and others familiar with the lifesaving work of Public Safety Telecommunicators.
Please join us in speaking up for these bills! Use this page to send a message to your elected officials -- then ask your colleagues, friends, and family to do the same!