Kansas Governor Signs Bill Designating 9-1-1 Telecommunicators as Emergency Responders
Friday, April 02, 2021 | Comments

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a bill that classifies 9-1-1 telecommunicators as emergency responders on March 25.

Senate Bill 40, also known as the Kansas Emergency Management Act, has a provision that includes 9-1-1 telecommunicators in the definition of emergency responders. Along with Kansas, several other states such as California, have also extended first responder status to 9-1-1 call-takers.

On the national stage, numerous public-safety organizations have been pushing Congress to pass legislation designating 9-1-1 call-takers as first responders. In 2017, the Office of Management and Budget declined to update the classification of call-takers from office to administrative support to first responder in its standard occupational classification (SOC) system.

On April 1, U.S. Reps. Norma Torres and Brian Fitzpatrick reintroduced the Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services Act of 2021 (9-1-1 SAVES Act) into the House of Representatives. The act would require the OMB to categorize 9-1-1 telecommunicators as emergency professionals in the SOC.

“The work performed by public-safety telecommunicators is nothing short of extraordinary, and it is 100% protective,” Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Executive Director and CEO Derek K. Poarch said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted their dedication and the life-saving nature of their work. Passage of the 9-1-1 SAVES Act will be a much-deserved recognition for these professionals and a win for public safety. APCO applauds Reps. Torres and Fitzpatrick for their continued leadership on this issue.”

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