Emergency call center workers say their centers are understaffed, struggling to fill vacancies and plagued by worker burnout, according to a national survey released Tuesday.
The survey conducted by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) in conjunction with Carbyne, a cloud technology company focused on emergency services, polled about 850 workers from 911 call centers across the country. It found that many were experiencing burnout, handling more frequent call surges and felt undertrained. The findings show the widespread nature of staffing problems that have been laid bare in some communities in recent years, the Associated Press reports.
Nationwide staffing shortages that in many cases mirror the shortages in law enforcement agencies have led to longer wait times or trouble reaching operators at centers around the country, according to experts.
Brian Fontes, CEO of NENA, said the group has been advocating for national legislation to change the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ classification of 911 workers from office or clerical workers to protected service workers like other emergency responders.
The group has also been advocating for a bill that would spend $15 billion equipping centers across the country with newer technology that Fontes and others said would address some of the other issues 911 workers noted in the survey.