New legislation in Illinois would recognize emergency dispatchers as first responders
QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Illinois. (KWQC) – Illinois State Senator Neil Anderson and Representative Dan Swanson hosted a press conference Tuesday with an update on a bill that would recognize emergency dispatchers as first responders.
Senate Bill 3127 (SB3127) passed the House and Senate unanimously on Friday, April 8. The bill will now go to Governor JB Pritzgar’s office for signing.
If passed, the bill would amend several different laws to include emergency medical dispatchers as first responders.
“They are our eyes and our ears. Police, firefighters, EMS, behind the scenes, before arriving on the scene. They work not only to protect us and keep us safe, but also for the citizens, the citizens of our communities,” said Senator Anderson.
The passage of this legislation comes just in time for National Public Safety Carriers Week.
Representative Dan Swanson points to the fact that there is a shortage of public safety employees and hopes this week will highlight the need for more people to work in the industry.
“These are essential workers helping residents and first responders through the most critical times helping save countless lives and helping people from all walks of life through the most traumatic times,” the rep said. Swanson.
Scott Ryckeghem, deputy manager of QComm911 in the Quad Cities, emphasized the importance of the emergency dispatcher. He said that in a month there are 10,000 service calls and 240,000 radio transmissions and phone calls from the dispatch center.
“Being designated as a first responder will open up opportunities for our dispatchers to receive additional mental health benefits, particularly to combat PTSD in communication centers. It will give us additional resources for funding, grants, training, free up some scheduling restrictions that we currently have,” Ryckeghem said.
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