In recognition of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) this week reintroduced the 9-1-1 SAVES Act, which would update the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) to better reflect the life-saving work 9-1-1 telecommunicators and dispatchers perform each day.
“This week, we recognize the life-saving work of 9-1-1 dispatchers across North Carolina and the country,” said Senator Burr. “As the co-chair of the Congressional Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus, I’m proud to work with Senator Klobuchar on this bipartisan initiative to reclassify the role of emergency dispatchers to better reflect their important responsibilities and the difference they make daily.”
“No matter where you are, if you dial 9-1-1, dispatchers are there to connect you to first responders,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This legislation makes important updates to the classification of 9-1-1 dispatchers to better capture the complex and technical nature of their occupations while also providing valuable statistical tools for federal agencies. I’m proud to work with Senator Burr to properly highlight dispatchers’ roles as safety leaders during times of crisis and the work they do to keep our communities safe.”
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a tool used by federal agencies to classify the workforce into useful, occupational categories. Currently, the SOC system categorizes 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers as “Office and Administrative Support Occupations,” which also includes secretaries, office clerks, and taxi cab dispatchers.
The 9-1-1 SAVES Act would instead recognize these dispatchers as “Protective Service Occupations,” which includes lifeguards, firefighters, TSA baggage screeners, among others.
As co-chairs of the Congressional Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus, Senators Burr and Klobuchar earlier this year reintroduced the Emergency Reporting Act, legislation to improve the resiliency of communication networks during emergencies, including hurricanes. Specifically, this legislation directs the FCC to work with state and local governments to improve the standards of mobile carriers in reporting network outages to 9-1-1 centers.