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NENA: Federal Committee's Action Disrespects 9-1-1 Telecommunicators and Holds Back Next-Generation 9-1-1 Improvements
On behalf of the thousands of 9-1-1 professionals serving the public in every community in America, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is deeply disappointed that the federal government intends to continue classifying Public Safety Telecommunicators as “Office and Administrative Support” workers, rather than as the critical public safety professionals that they are.
On Friday, July 22, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a federal committee’s recommendations for revising the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), under which Public Safety Telecommunicators are inappropriately designated as office workers. In doing so, the committee ignored material differences between the work of public safety and commercial “dispatchers,” including the unique training and demanding standards required of 9-1-1 professionals.
“The men and women of 9-1-1 do so much more than just answer the phone,” said Brian Fontes, CEO of NENA. “They guide callers through life-saving procedures, provide advice on how to handle dangerous situations, and provide critical backup to field responders, all while under great stress and pressure.
“In short, 9-1-1 call takers are first responders. Unfortunately, the committee’s work relegates them to second-class status. It disregards the complex, life-saving nature of their work, and it could deprive 9-1-1 centers of access to federal homeland security grants needed for upgrades to Next-Generation 9-1-1 technology.”
Members of NENA will be communicating with both OMB and their members of Congress in an effort to correct the SOC classification before it is finalized in 2017.
See our previous report with APCO's response to the OMB recommendations, here
- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via NENA, 7/26/16)