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June 17, 2019

Texas Recognizes Emergency Services Dispatchers as First Responders

Governor Greg Abbott signs HB1090 into law

On Monday June 10, 2019, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed House Bill 1090 into law.

The bill, introduced by Texas House of Representative Cecil Bell, amends Texas’ Government Code by including “an emergency response operator or emergency services dispatcher who provides communication support services for an agency by responding to requests for assistance in emergencies’ into the state’s definition of a ‘first responder’.

Related story: Telecommunicators to be classified as First Responders in Texas

By signing the bill into law, this demonstrates that Texas recognizes that 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers provide critical and life-saving services for the public. As such, they may encounter stressful and potentially traumatic events and experiences in the course of exercising their duties.

Related legislation: #911SAVES ACT

The new law goes into effect on September 1st. The Texas legislation mirrors similar efforts at the national level to change the perception of the contributions of telecommunicators to public safety and the communities they serve.

With the implementation of the Texas law, it is hoped that more states follow suit. Thus providing more weight to efforts at the federal level for reclassification of 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers to the protective services class.

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