New bill would reclassify dispatch callers as first responders

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – First responders across the Big Country are always on call for when crisis strikes in our city, but what about those who are taking the calls?

“They’re the first ones on the scene by phone,” said Taylor County EMS Executive Director David Allman.

911 Dispatchers now classified as clerical workers or secretaries but a new piece of legislation trying to change that.

“That would reclassify 911 telecommunicators as first responders,” said APD Communications Director Becky Mackiewicz.

Mackiewicz says they’re so much more than just call takers.

“Telecommunicators are still experiencing PTSD, going through all of the life-saving call techniques,” said Mackiewicz.

“They’re hearing all the screaming, crying and they’re trying to console those callers,” said Allman.

Allman usually on the opposite side of those calls, giving the credit to these dispatchers for being the first line of defense.

“They’re able to provide pre-arrival instructions to the caller in cases such as cardiac arrest,” said Allman.

“We can talk somebody through CPR or childbirth or resuscitation.”

Allman says they work together as a team to ensure the safety of those who call Taylor County home.

“It takes everybody working together to make everything go right and it starts with that first person calling 911,” said Allman.

If passed the reclassification would affect the workers’ benefit and retirement plans.

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