Giving 9-1-1 dispatchers the Protective Service Occupations classification, as called for in the 911 SAVES Act, recognizes the reality of dispatchers' work and provides them with crucial resources, according to NENA CEO Brian Fontes. Dispatchers' duties have grown increasingly more sophisticated and now involve "any number of different medical issues that will begin with triage while [an] ambulance is dispatched to the scene," says Fontes.
During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, dispatchers shared how they take pride in being a calm voice and helping callers during stressful situations. "In my mind, there is absolutely no replacement for a good dispatcher," says Logan, Utah, 9-1-1 Director Shelley Peterson.
Dallas 9-1-1 chief Robert Uribe has introduced a policy giving dispatchers 4 seconds rather than 20 seconds between calls, part of an effort to reduce wait times. National Emergency Number Association President Gary Bell says it's more effective to allow dispatchers to choose the interval between calls, to breathe, calm themselves and be most prepared for the next call.
Bingham County, Idaho, dispatcher Layton Powell recently gave lifesaving CPR instructions to a man whose wife had gone into cardiac arrest and was having difficulty breathing. "Powell was calm, professional, courteous, compassionate and encouraging," Sheriff Craig Rowland said.
Genesee County 9-1-1 in Michigan is encouraging voters to approve the renewal of the monthly 9-1-1 fee of $1.86 per landline, cellphone line and Voice over Internet Protocol service, which is the only source of funding for county 9-1-1 services. Voters will decide May 4, and officials warn that county taxpayers will likely have to take on the expense of the services if the fee is not renewed.
FirstNet this month has begun making 5G+ spectrum available to users in 38 cities and at over 20 venues. The authority is also testing tower-to-core encryption and plans to have it fully available by the end of next year.