Reclassification Overdue

Matthew Miko, J.D.

Matthew Miko, J.D.

Blast From The Past

During the past few years, there has been a growing call to reclassify emergency dispatchers as first responders and accord them the privileges, recognitions, and benefits that go along with that classification. Indeed, this effort continues to gain momentum as demonstrated by those states and localities where emergency dispatchers have been reclassified.

As those in this industry witness the wave of support continue to build, it’s hard not to ask, “Why has this taken so long?” The amazing work done by emergency dispatchers is nothing new. As members of the IAED™, they’ve been interrogating callers, identifying Chief Complaints, using Diagnostic Tools, and providing Dispatch Life Support in the form of Pre-Arrival Instructions for over 40 years.

And it’s not just about the calls themselves. Emergency dispatchers continuously study and train to improve their skills and knowledge and maintain their IAED certifications, collectively completing hundreds of thousands of hours of Continuing Dispatch Education. As explained in the Principles of Emergency Medical Dispatch, this commitment to excellence further elevates and distinguishes this profession: “The result is a skyrocketing sense of professionalism. No longer the bottom rung of the ladder, EMDs are proud of their work. They are eager to share their stories and to learn yet-better ways to do their job. They have the air of confidence that stems from knowing that coordinating the entire EMS system is something only a few people can do well.”

It is no longer a question of if emergency dispatchers should be reclassified as first responders, but rather a question of when. Take a few minutes to read the accompanying nomination of all emergency dispatchers at Salt Lake (Utah, USA) Central Dispatch and the amazing things being done in 1987 (yes, 35 years ago) to get a real sense for just how long overdue this reclassification actually is.