U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) introduced H.R. 1629, the 911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act to 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 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) catalog.

OMB currently classifies 9-1-1 dispatchers as clerical workers—the same category as secretaries, office clerks, and taxicab dispatchers. The 911 SAVES Act would update this classification to appropriately reflect the important role of 9-1-1 dispatchers in directing emergency response and providing lifesaving emergency medical instruction.

“After more than 17 years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I know firsthand the challenges our public safety dispatchers face, the stress they are put under, and the critical importance of their work. Without dispatchers, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs wouldn’t be able to do their jobs,” said Congresswoman Torres. “The 911 SAVES Act recognizes the significance of these roles and ensures all classification standards put public safety first. I’m proud to work with Congressman Fitzpatrick to finally give 9-1-1 dispatchers their due—making us all safer in the long run.”

“As a former FBI Agent, I know the work done by our 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers is critical for the safety of our community. When we are in danger, we call 9-1-1 and rely on those on the other end of the line to make sure we get the help we need,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “This legislation will give our 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers the resources, benefits, and recognition they deserve.”

Specifically, the 911 SAVES Act would direct OMB to update their classification for public safety telecommunicators as a protective service within the SOC catalog. Federal agencies rely on the SOC, a vast catalog of occupations, for statistical purposes. Including public safety telecommunicators in the protective service group would make the SOC a more accurate and useful resource, and would better align the SOC with related classification systems.

The bill has been endorsed by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, the NENA: The 9-1-1 Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also applauds all efforts to get 9-1-1 operators the designation they deserve.