Press Release for Kansas Public Safety Telecommunicators as First Responders #2

Good morning Kansas APCO membership! I have been given our next press release to share with you all from the Kansas APCO and NENA board members.

The last year has come with challenges, fear, and frustration for all, and 911 Public Safety Telecommunicators are no exception. While the job itself is stressful, COVID has forced many Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to work shorthanded, change call-taking protocol, and 911 saw an influx of calls which challenged capacity.

 

Nevertheless, after many years of hard work, and a tumultuous year of uphill battles, the Kansas Chapters of APCO and NENA believe there is reason to celebrate.

 

HB2435 was introduced last week which spoke to the inclusion of Public Safety Telecommunicators alongside other heroes in public safety like Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technicians/Paramedics. Concurrently SB40, which included many modifications to the Emergency Management Act, passed both the House and the Senate meanwhile awaiting the Governor’s signature. SB40 would amend the definition of “emergency responder” in the Kansas Intrastate Emergency Mutual Aid Act to include 911 call center public safety telecommunicators. It is anticipated the Governor will sign this bill making it law on or before March 31, 2021.

 

What this means for you: 911, emergency dispatchers, public safety telecommunicators, call takers, and the like, are finally receiving the dignity and respect it justly deserves.

 

What happens next: KS APCO and KS NENA will continue to advocate for our occupation focusing on COVID benefits, PTSD inclusion, equitable benefits, and quality in-person training.

 

While Kansas law does not allow for classification that would impact FLSA, the federal reclassification effort commonly referred to as the 911 Saves Act is still alive. We encourage you to throw your support behind this initiative in hopes the Office of Management and Budget will do the right thing by modifying the Standard Occupational Classification System to include 911 professionals as a protected service occupation.

 

What we need from you? Keep doing what you’re doing! Continue being superstars in your profession, tell your stories and bring awareness to your dedication and hard work!

 

Much Respect,

KS APCO and KS NENA

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