I received this wonderful news early this morning. After many years of effort, dispatchers in the state of Kansas are finally recognized and classified as “emergency responders ” . Governor Kelly signed SB40 yesterday which added dispatchers. Please read the following article and you will understand why this was so vital. If you can only imagine, dispatchers receive calls reporting everything from littering to homicides. In the worst of calls, everything is handled by them through telephone conversations, they are not able to be physically at the scene. While other emergency responders arrive and deal with the issues at hand, dispatchers remain at their stations. They can only imagine the issues that are being dealt with, so they leave work with indifferent thoughts and feelings that are sometimes very hard to process and work through. SB40 not only recognizes dispatchers for their incredible efforts in keeping our communities safe, but also opens doors for them to obtain services needed to better perform their duties. I am very appreciative that dispatchers are being recognized for the truly remarkable jobs that they do. Well done!!!
Kansas Includes Public Safety Telecommunicators in definition of Emergency Responders
After many years of hard work, and a tumultuous year of uphill battles, the Kansas Chapters of APCO and NENA are elated that public safety telecommunicators, are finally receiving the dignity and respect they justly deserve. Public Safety Telecommunicators include 9-1-1 call takers and emergency dispatchers and are the first emergency responder to nearly every emergency.
Last week, HB2435, which spoke to the inclusion of Public Safety Telecommunicators in the definition of emergency responders alongside other heroes in public safety like Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technicians/Paramedics, was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. Concurrently SB40, which included many modifications to the Emergency Management Act, passed both the House and the Senate and respectively received the Governor’s signature yesterday making it law. SB40 amended the definition of “emergency responder” in the Kansas Intrastate Emergency Mutual Aid Act to include 911 call center public safety telecommunicators.
When emergencies arise in our communities across Kansas, people seeking help in that time of crisis turn to 9-1-1 as their lifeline. Public Safety Telecommunicators are highly trained individuals and routinely communicate with citizens who are in great distress, fear or injured. They can coach callers through mental health crisis, how to perform CPR or deliver a baby, collect information to provided situational awareness for responders, and negotiate in hostile situations. They perform critical life-saving duties in the field as Incident Tactical Dispatchers (INTD) for SWAT and Fire, Communications Units Leaders and Technicians (COML and COMT), and the Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) assistance to PSAP’s in disasters.