Dispatchers Deserve To Be First Responders
Start writing a post

My Mom's A 911 Dispatcher And She Deserves The Same Rights As All Other First Responders

Because she is THE first responder.

Tyler Silvest

My amazing, kick-ass mom has been a dispatcher, or "public safety telecommunicator," for almost seven years.

Here's a picture of her for reference. She's the cutest thing ever.

Behold, an actual superhero. In the flesh.Caitlin Via

And during these seven years, my mom has been the one to answer the phone when a mother found that her baby had stopped breathing, a friend was trying desperately to talk another friend out of suicide, a young girl was hiding from a stranger who'd broken into her house, a passerby witnessed a fatal car accident with severe, gruesome injuries, and so many other terrifying situations. And she gets almost no credit for it. Just like the other 100,000 dispatchers all over the country.

Not only does my mom answer these, let's admit it, traumatizing phone calls, but she's also trained to administer CPR instructions, emergency first aid, and shock treatment instructions-- all over the phone. She's able to quickly distinguish the emergency while talking to citizens who are frantically crying, spitting obscene insults and maybe not even speaking English at all, while simultaneously taking notes on the computer, talking to the deputy/officer in the jurisdiction, and calling an ambulance/fire department.

She can type a million miles a minute, multitask like a mad woman and somehow keep her cool through even the most insane situations. She keeps her officers safe with her constant communication and routine checks on them every hour. She completes multiple hours of training, certifications and monitored tests to be qualified to do what she does. And she's the bomb at it.

Yet she doesn't have the same rights as the officers she protects.

911 dispatchers are technically classified as "clerical workers," which is the same thing as an administrative assistant or someone who works at a front desk. So even though they're doing LIFE-SAVING work, they get the same pay, retirement, and benefits as someone who works a much less-stress job. Hella unfair, right?

Congresswoman Norma Torres thinks so too. She worked as a dispatcher for seventeen years with the Los Angeles Police Department and has used her experience as a platform to lobby for dispatchers' status to be upgraded to first responders-- a fight that is still ongoing today.

Not only would this status change protect dispatchers' life insurance and retirement benefits, but it will also provide better health care and affordable counseling opportunities that dispatchers desperately need the most.

Congresswoman Torres argues that dispatchers should be considered first responders because when natural disasters hit, and police officers, medical workers, and firefighters are called to the scene, dispatchers are too. Most dispatchers are trained to work in mobile command units in the event of a disaster, where they are expected to work and around the clock until the situation has passed. Something that is not expected of clerical workers.

Torres feels so strongly in her fight to bestow dispatchers their rights because they have hardly ANY representation in society. There's no union or umbrella cooperation that represents them or highlights their importance. They're clerical workers, but so not clerical workers. Officers, but not technically officers. They're stranded in limbo even though they are so essential to our safety.

When the facts are presented, its surprising that dispatchers aren't already considered first responders.

People like my mom are the connection between distressed citizens and emergency help. Without people like her, there would be no cops, or firefighters or ambulances to come save the day. There would be no organization or time-sensitive help in emergencies. Everything would go to hell without my mom. She is needed.

And she deserves to be treated like she's needed.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments