Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know

Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-04-11
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know
Unit 2Transcript: Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know
Unit 3Workbook: Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know
Unit 4Recording: Reclassifying 911 as First Responders What Public Safety Professionals Should Know

911 professionals are currently classified as “clerical” employees by the Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) in the last update of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System. This classification impacts the 911 profession as it relates to how 911 professionals get paid, get support and funding, training and policies for the profession, and even public perception.

Leading the discussion is Sara Weston, a champion of the 911 profession, the founder and executive director of 911der Women, and the CEO of Sara Weston Consulting, LLC. She has been a consultant for NG911 systems for the past 16 years and working with the National 911 Program to improve nationwide 911 systems.

Specifics of the session covered:

  • Advocating for 911 professionals’ recognition as first responders due to their critical life-saving roles and the mental health toll the job entails.
  • How classifying 911 professionals as first responders can help the profession and the criminal justice system with addressing staffing issues, mitigating trauma, saving lives, and keeping field responders safe.
  • The three-pronged approach and simultaneous efforts to reclassification that are going on at the industry, federal, and state levels.
  • Working with facts and data to prove the critical role of 911 professionals in emergency first response.
  • An overview of the BLS and the SOC system, its purpose and users, the guidelines for the occupational classification, and how often it is updated.
  • How 911 centers missed in the last BLS/SOC updated in 2018 by submitting outdated job descriptions which led to the “clerical” classification of the entire 911 profession.
  • The Reclassification Toolkit that offers comprehensive strategies and resources update job descriptions, align training with the evolving technological demands of 911 centers, and enhance advocacy.
  • Focusing on the job description aspect which is pivotal for BLS reclassification that emphasizes the need to:
    • Reflect all technology utilized in 911 operations.
    • Coordinate and collaborate with hiring authorities, agency leaders, and neighboring agencies to ensure comprehensiveness in the process and cover pay and benefit comparison.
    • Align with the latest legislations, requirements, standards, policies, and procedures as well as apply up-to-date testing procedures to support the needed job skills.
    • Engage with other branches of emergency services to understand each other’s needs and get them to advocate for the 911 profession.
    • Developing a process to review and keep job descriptions updated moving forward.
  • The 911 SAVES Act: What it is, how it aims to reclassify 911 professionals outside the established BLS process, and the reason to still pursue the BLS/SOC route despite the 911 SAVES Act.
  • State-level reclassification efforts.
    • A look into the states that have already reclassified.
    • How this supports the 911 SAVES Act and how this means variations on the reclassification definitions and guidelines across states.
    • How states that are considering reclassifying can reach out to the 911 program administrators of those that have already reclassified to compare and guide reclassification efforts.
  • A call to action for 911 professionals to engage proactively in efforts to update job descriptions, improve training protocols, and advocate to reclassify to better reflect the critical nature of the 911 profession.

Questions from the webinar audience are about:

  • Impact of not classifying telecommunicators as first responders on their ability to strike.
  • Skepticism from first responder groups about 911 professionals being classified as first responders.
  • Who to reach out to and what to include when advocating for reclassification of 911 professionals.
  • Use of AI and non-911 professionals in call centers.
  • Which roles are included in the reclassification efforts.

Whether first responder experience should be required for 911 professionals.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “A very good session.”
  • “The webinars do assist me with my everyday duty thus enhancing my knowledge in my field of work. customer care service effective communication coaching sessions.”
  • “I appreciate learning that the SAVES ACT is still in progress. I was led to believe that this was approved and was already in place. Knowing that there is still so much to do makes this even more important than before.”


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