Posted in NGA911 on Apr 12, 2023
The “first responder” title is synonymous with police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, but what about 9-1-1 call takers? With the reclassification of 9-1-1 call takers as first responders, the change can also mean significant benefits for the public safety industry.
To help celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, our team at NGA will dive into how the reclassification of 911 call takers to first responders can attract more people to this career.
Table of Contents:
9-1-1 Call Takers to First Responders: A Much Needed Change of View
What Better Benefits for 9-1-1 Call Takers Can Mean for the Public Safety Industry
Benefits of Reclassification
More Attraction to the Career
Improvements in Retention and Recruitment
People Also Ask:
What are the benefits of being a 911 dispatcher?
Choosing a career as a 9-1-1 call taker or dispatcher has many benefits.
Some of these advantages may include the following:
Paid time off
Beneficial retirement plans
Health, dental, and life insurance
Employee assistance programs
Flexible spending accounts
Credit union memberships
Why should 911 dispatchers be considered first responders?
9-1-1 dispatchers, or 9-1-1 telecommunicators, are the very first point of contact when an individual in need calls 9-1-1. The vital work these professionals perform deserves recognition for many reasons, one of the most important being their efforts behind the scenes.
The role of 9-1-1 call takers has traditionally been viewed as a clerical position. They are not considered first responders in the same way as police, fire, or EMS personnel. This view is changing, and some states have reclassified 9-1-1 call takers as first responders.
This change in classification has created new job opportunities and benefits for 9-1-1 call takers. For example, with states like California officially reclassifying 9-1-1 telecommunicators as first responders, they are eligible for the same benefits and pensions as other first responders.
Reclassifying 9-1-1 call takers as first responders can provide significant benefits, such as improved job satisfaction, better pay, and extra benefits. Let’s look into what this recognition can mean for emergency response.
The reclassification of 9-1-1 call takers to first responders can significantly benefit the emergency services sector. These call takers are the first people to respond to an emergency. Through this reclassification, they’ll have the same classification as other first responders, such as firefighters, paramedics, and police officers.
With this new classification comes an increase in job responsibilities, which can lead to enhanced job satisfaction and motivation to excel in the role.
Reclassifying 9-1-1 call takers as first responders could make the career more attractive to individuals interested in public safety. The new classification will reinforce the critical role played by 9-1-1 call takers in times of emergency, making the career more enticing to those seeking to make a difference in their community.
The reallocation of resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of public safety jobs, making it an accessible career choice for people seeking a fulfilling career in public service.
Now that 9-1-1 call takers are being nationally recognized as first responders, there are more opportunities for increased eligibility for grants and other benefits at the federal and state levels. This new eligibility status will make it easier for 9-1-1 call takers to access benefits, such as retirement plans, health insurance, preferential pay, and paid time off.
The reclassification to first responders will give professional recognition to 9-1-1 call takers, acknowledging their value and expertise to the emergency services sector, making it easier for them to share best practices and collaborate with other first responders. This new status can further enhance the professional identity, job satisfaction, and motivation for the 9-1-1 call takers, further contributing to their community's safety and well-being.
The reclassification to first responders can also help to increase retention and recruitment of 9-1-1 professionals. It is no secret that the 9-1-1 industry has had trouble retaining dispatchers due to the high stress levels in a job requiring high care and attention.
But with the reclassification of 9-1-1 call takers as first responders, there are added incentives, which could lead to more 9-1-1 call takers considering this line of work.
Reclassifying 9-1-1 call takers as first responders marks an incredible change to the emergency services segment. Their contribution to public safety can now be more appropriately recognized and compensated, increasing job satisfaction and motivation for 9-1-1 professionals.
It's an exciting time for the 9-1-1 industry as it can serve as an example of how a change in language and recognition can create an attractive career path that offers much-needed rewards for public service.
How can you help?
Please ask both of your U.S Senators as well as your U.S Representative to support the 9-1-1 SAVES ACT! https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member
Want to learn more?
Connect with our team at NGA to get started!