Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) last week introduced the bipartisan Providing Resources and Occupational Training for Emotional Crisis and Trauma (PROTECT) 911 Act to address health and wellness issues for emergency call-takers and dispatchers.
The PROTECT 911 Act includes measures to advance health and wellness for 911 professionals, including:
- Developing best practices to identify, prevent and treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in public safety telecommunicators.
- Developing resources to help mental health professionals better treat 911 professionals.
- Establishing grants for health and wellness programs in emergency communications centers.
“Too often, the mental health and well-being of our 911 operators and dispatchers is treated as an afterthought, if addressed at all, even as they encounter distressing and desperate situations as a necessary part of their job,” Kelly said.
“Emergency operators often encounter violent, disturbing situations, all while trying to determine how best to help in the situation and communicate vital information to the person on the other end of the line. We need to ensure that the folks taking our most urgent calls are able to take care of themselves. I am proud to lead this bill along with my colleagues, Rep. (Brian) Fitzpatrick and Rep. (Norma) Torres, to provide help for these professionals working every day to keep our communities safe.”