OKLAHOMA, USA — Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a bill ensuring 911 dispatchers receive training to render first-aid instructions in the hope of saving more lives.
On Tuesday, May 3, House Bill 3278, authored by Rep. Justin Humphrey, was signed into law and is a clarification of a law enacted last year.
"When someone calls 911, the dispatcher is the first point of contact," Humphrey said. "We've worked diligently to ensure these vital employees receive proper training so they can walk someone through performing CPR or other first-aid measures so they can help save lives."
Humphrey says the primary purpose of the bill is to make sure dispatchers are appropriately titled as public safety telecommunications, which classifies them as first responders who perform a public service by receiving and dispatching calls for emergency assistance. This classification will guarantee they receive the specialized training other emergency medical services (EMS) personnel undergo to help avoid the loss of life.
Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, is the principal Senate author of the bill and says this modernization of 911 services will aid in better outcomes in emergency situations.
“While most people think of first responders as EMTs, firefighters or law enforcement, the very first responder truly is the person answering those 911 calls,” Weaver said. “This bill is part of an ongoing process to modernize 911 services and training in our state, helping ensure the best outcomes possible in emergency situations.”
This bill also transfers the administrative authority of the Oklahoma Emergency Telephone Act from the Department of Public Safety to the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority, to avoid having two different departments responsible, Humphrey says.
In addition, this bill repeals a section of the law, which required the Statewide Emergency 911 Advisory Committee to make certain considerations in its recommendations for the development of a statewide 9-1-1 emergency telephone system.
Humphrey says he met with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other public safety groups to guarantee there were no objections or costs to the measure.
HB3278 goes into effect on Nov. 1.
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