NENA Hammers Decision on 911 Call-Takers

The National Emergency Number Association said today it was “deeply disappointed” with recommendations of the federal Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee to continue to classify “public safety telecommunicators as ‘Office and Administrative Support’ workers, rather than as the critical public safety professionals that they are.” The recommendations were published earlier this month by the Office of Management and Budget, and that Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International expressed its disappointment with decision at that time (TRDaily, July 22).  By recommending that 911 call-takers be designated as “office workers . . . 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,” NENA said.

Brian Fontes, NENA’s chief executive officer, said in a statement, “The men and women of 9-1-1 do so much more than just answer the phone . . . 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.”  The group said its members “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.”

Courtesy TRDaily