Pitkin County 911 Dispatchers Become First Responders
Pitkin County 911 dispatchers will be among the few in the country, and the first in Colorado, to now be recognized as first responders.
All Pitkin County emergency dispatchers are trained to give potentially lifesaving instructions over the phone, like CPR, childbirth and bleeding control. In the first six months of 2019, emergency dispatchers in the county have provided medical guidance to over 200 callers.
Because of this, Pitkin County said 911 dispatchers should have the more prestigious title of first responder, giving them better access to mental health services and grants for training.
“Emergency dispatchers are every bit as critical in managing a crisis as our law enforcement officers, paramedics and firefighters are and they are equally impacted emotionally,” Brett Loeb, Emergency Dispatch 911 Commander, said. “They should be recognized for that.”
The U.S. Government currently classifies emergency dispatchers as administrative and clerical, though the 911 Saves Act before Congresscould change that. If approved, it would upgrade the classifications of 911 dispatchers to match that of all first responders.
Loeb said they could not wait for the bill to be passed because Pitkin County’s dispatchers deserve the benefits of the first responders title.
Pitkin County Commissioners will formally recognize the new status of its 911 dispatchers with a joint Sheriff’s office and Pitkin County proclamation at its meeting on Thursday, October 12.