WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and federal prosecutor, and Norma J. Torres (CA-35), the only former 9-1-1 dispatcher serving in Congress, announced that their 9-11 SAVES Act passed the House as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Fitzpatrick and Torres offered the language as an amendment to the NDAA, where it was unanimously agreed to as part of an en bloc amendment.

The 9-1-1 SAVES Act seeks to reclassify 911 dispatchers from “Office and Administrative Support” to “Protective Service Occupations” in the Office of Management and Budget’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) catalog.

The lawmakers released the following statements:

“I am pleased to see the House passed our bipartisan 911 Saves Act, as part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The services provided by our 911 operators and dispatchers are integral to the safety of every community across America. I thank Rep. Torres for her leadership in championing this crucial legislation that will give our public safety telecommunicators the recognition they rightfully deserve.”

“As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, I know first-hand the challenges that our public safety dispatchers are faced with and the extraordinary work that they do to help save lives,” said Rep. Norma J. Torres. “9-1-1 dispatchers are the first line of response during an emergency, and they deserve to be classified in a way that recognizes that their work is on par with the work of other public servants classified as first responders. That is why I am so pleased to announce that the 9-1-1 SAVES Act to reclassify them as emergency personnel passed the House as part of the FY22 NDAA.”

The 9-1-1 SAVES Act is supported by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), NENA: The 9-1-1 Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

“Each year, millions of Americans ?nd themselves, their loved ones, or their fellow citizens in peril — many times facing matters of life and death. In these desperate moments, the words ‘9-1-1, where is your emergency?’ are often the ?rst sign of hope,” said NENA President Jennifer White, ENP. “The 9-1-1 professionals who handle these calls – more than 650,000 of them every day – are the vital first link in the emergency-response chain. Reclassifying public-safety telecommunicators as a protective service occupation would give them the respect and support they deserve, while improving the government’s data collection and analysis efforts.”

The original bill, H.R. 2351, has 95 cosponsors and is endorsed by the following organizations: SEIU, AFSCME, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), National Emergency Number Association (NENA), Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, Orange County Employees Association, Massachusetts Communications Supervisors Association, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, Tennessee Emergency Number Association, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Palo Alto Police Department.

The 9-1-1 SAVES Act was originally introduced by Reps. Fitzpatrick and Torres in March 2017.