WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35) introduced the bipartisan Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act. 9-1-1 dispatchers are currently not classified as first responders. At zero cost to American taxpayers, the 9-1-1 SAVES Act reclassifies 9-1-1 dispatchers as first responders and recognizes America's over 100,000 9-1-1 professionals for their work to save lives. The bipartisan bill has the support of fire, police, 9-1-1, and public safety organizations across the United States.
"Public Safety telecommunicators play a critical role in emergency response as the initial first responder in any crisis situation," said Congressman Fitzpatrick. "The thousands of operators and dispatchers work tirelessly everyday to coordinate public safety, police, fire, and ambulance units and to keep our communities safe. I am grateful to join Congresswoman Torres on this bipartisan bill to ensure that they are properly classified as responding officers."
“When Americans are experiencing the worst, most life-threatening moments of their lives, 9-1-1 dispatchers answer the call – they are true first responders,” said Congresswoman Torres. “My 9-1-1 SAVES Act provides a simple fix to reclassify 9-1-1 professionals as first responders and honor these brave men and women for their work. As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher for over 17 years, I know this small change would mean a great deal to dispatchers and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in finally giving 9-1-1 professionals the recognition they earn every day."
“The federal classification of 9-1-1 professionals has been wrong for decades, characterizing their work as ‘clerical’ rather than ‘protective,’ which is an obvious error and injustice to anyone who understands emergency response," said Becky Neugent, 9-1-1 Director for Autauga 9-1-1 (Prattsville, AL) and President of APCO International. "APCO appreciates Congresswoman Torres, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and our many other supporters for their dedication to correcting the classification. This is a common-sense change that would recognize the protective, lifesaving nature of 9-1-1 professionals’ work, and APCO looks forward to the day that the classification is fixed.”
“The federal government currently classifies 911 professionals as a 'clerical' function. This classification is grossly inaccurate and demoralizes both the workforce specifically and the industry more broadly," said S. Rebecca Neusteter, Executive Director, University of Chicago Health Lab and Principal Investigator, Transform911. "911 professionals are managing incredibly stressful situations, giving lifesaving instructions, using a vast amount of technology, and managing complex public safety units in the field. The University of Chicago Health Lab and all of our partners through the multidisciplinary Transform911 coalition applaud the reintroduction of the 911 SAVES Act in its efforts to reclassify and recognize 911 professionals as our nation’s first first responders.”
Read the text of the bill HERE.