Simplicity. It is clearly one of the main tenets of any good Bill or Law. While 9-1-1 telecommunicators and dispatchers have been referred to as our Nation’s FIRST 1st Responders, their position has been relegated to one that carries the very same classification as an administrative or clerical worker.
Why is this important? Congressional Representative Norma J. Torres states, “Federal agencies rely on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), a vast catalog of occupations, for statistical purposes. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains the SOC. Occupations are supposed to be classified according to the nature of the work performed. However, the current version of the SOC categorizes Public Safety Telecommunicators as ‘Office and Administrative Support Occupations,’ which includes secretaries, office clerks, and taxicab dispatchers. OMB recently conducted a revision of the SOC but failed to appropriately update the classification of Public Safety Telecommunicators. “
In her eyes, and the eyes of many others, these individuals should be categorized as “Protective Service Occupations,” which includes a broad range of other “protective” occupations that are more closely related to the job at hand, such as: lifeguards, fish and game wardens, parking enforcement workers, firefighters, and even playground monitors, among others.
The 911 Saves Act is targeted at correcting this injustice and is one that YOUR Federal Legislator or Congressional Representative can get behind.
UPDATE FOR 3/6/19
March 7, Rep. Torres will formally introduce the 911 SAVES Act, which (if passed) will reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators and dispatchers. This is a huge moment for everyone working in 9-1-1, and a great opportunity to have our voices heard. Here’s how you can help:
- Get up to speed. First, read NENA’s original comments supporting reclassification for a quick refresher on the issue. Then, read up on Representative Torres’ bill in the 911 SAVES Primer.
- Connect with your Congressional contacts. They’d love to hear from you on this issue. Email them directly and ask if their bosses would be interested in either cosponsoring or expressing support for 911 SAVES. Here’s a quick Grassroots Guide for reaching out!
- Writer’s Block? Remember: your email doesn’t have to be too long or formal, but you can use this 911 SAVES Form Letter (here’s a version for your Senators) as a starting point for your correspondence.
- Email and tweet directly at your elected officials. Use NENA’s new Online Action Center to reach out directly to your local congressional offices by clicking here.
- Watch the livestream of the 911 SAVES press conference on Rep. Torres’ Facebook page. She’ll be introducing the bill Thursday at 3:30pm Eastern — click here to go to her Facebook page, where the livestream will be hosted.
You can watch for updates here, or on the Blog site of my friend and colleague, Ricardo Marinez II https://www.withinthetrenches.net/blog/2019/2/28/911-saves-act
Fletch – @fletch911
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