Council adopts resolution seeking recognition of emergency dispatchers as first responders
The Maui County Council adopted a resolution Friday to urge the county administration to recognize emergency dispatchers as first responders.
Introduced by Council member Yuki Lei K. Sugimura, Resolution 23-29, FD1 says that “911 emergency services dispatchers provide an integral basis for effective public safety response and often can prevent incidents from worsening before field responders arrive.”
The resolution was supported in testimony by current and former police and fire personnel and other members of the public, who noted dispatchers’ high-stress work is a vital component of the county’s public-safety system.
“I’d like to move forward the issue of properly recognizing emergency dispatchers because it has been on the back burner for too long,” said Sugimura in a news release. She noted the state Senate last year adopted a resolution urging counties to recognize dispatchers as first responders. “Emergency services personnel are so important, and they should all be fairly recognized for all they do in the line of their time-sensitive, life-saving work.”
Resolution 23-29, FDI states that, although 911 emergency services dispatchers are not physically at the scene of emergencies, they often face job-related stress. Information gathered and communicated by the dispatchers can mean the difference between positive and negative outcomes in an array of emergency situations, Sugimura said.
The resolution notes that the council lacks the authority to change emergency dispatchers’ official status.
“I would like to thank all of our first responders for their role in the critical infrastructure of the public safety system,” said Sugimura, who holds the council seat for the Upcountry Maui residency area and chairs the Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee. “I urge the administration to act on this issue and give our emergency dispatchers the recognition that they deserve.”