Legislation has been introduced that would make dispatchers and call takers officially recognized as first responders across the country.
According to the website for California Representative Norma Torres—who is a co-sponsor of the bill along with Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina—the proposed legislation seeks to reclassify communications officers nationally from a non-protective service occupation to a protective one in the Standard Occupational Classification system, giving dispatchers recognition as first responders.
"As a former dispatcher, I know first-hand the challenges our public safety dispatchers face, the stress they are under, and the importance of their work," Torres said in a statement. "You'd be hard-pressed to find administrative staff who are required to undergo the amount of training and evaluation that's required of public safety telecommunicators."
House Resolution 1629—dubbed the 9-1-1 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act—is currently under consideration by the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.