U.S. House Passes Resolution to Reclassify 9-1-1 Specialists as First Responders

The United States House of Representatives yesterday passed a bipartisan resolution to recognize 9-1-1 specialists as first responders. Specifically, the provisions of the “911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act” were among the numerous amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed by a vote of 220-197.

Specifically, the legislation would reclassify 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers from “Office and Administrative Support Occupations” to “Protective Service Occupations” in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) catalog.

The current classification reflects an outdated, misinformed view of the nation’s 100,000 public safety telecommunicators. The 911 SAVES Act is the first bill of its kind to give 9-1-1 specialists the recognition they deserve for the work they do every day to protect and save the lives of the public and first responders.

The bill now heads to conference committee with the United States Senate, which passed its companion bill last month.

The Maryland General Assembly this year approved SB 284, 9-1-1 Specialists – Compensation and Benefits, bi-partisan legislation that calls for 9-1-1 specialists to be classified appropriately. The legislation was part of a package to update state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system, to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system, a 2019 MACo Legislative Initiative.

The Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, submitted its 2018 report to the Governor and General Assembly in December of last year. The report includes recommendations for the implementation, technology, funding, governance, and ongoing statewide development of NG911.

The Commission will continue its work over the next year in order to address other issues concerning the migration to NG911.

MACo’s Summer Conference session, “New Look 9-1-1 – Everything Will Change… Except the Numbers, will discuss how Maryland is accelerating its move toward NG911, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise, and focusing on effective coordination with communications providers to deliver these essential services equitably across the state. The session is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14, 2019, from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 14-17, 2019 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s conference theme is “Winds of Change.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: