OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill ensuring 911 dispatchers receive training to render first-aid instructions in the hope of saving more lives was signed into law recently by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
House Bill 3278, authored by Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, is a clarification of 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 said the bill is primarily clean-up language making sure dispatchers are appropriately titled as public safety telecommunicators, which identifies them as first responders who perform a public service by receiving and dispatching calls for emergency assistance. This will ensure they receive the specialized training other emergency medical services (EMS) personnel undergo to help mitigate the loss of life.
Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, is the principal Senate author of the bill.
“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.”
The bill also transfers the administration authority of the Oklahoma Emergency Telephone Act from the Department of Public Safety to the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority. Instead of having two different departments responsible, there will now be only one, Humphrey said. In addition, the legislation updates the definition of tariff rate to include current equivalents of rates. Finally, it repeals a section of law, now obsolete, 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 said he met with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other public safety groups to ensure there no objections or costs to the measure.
HB3278 goes into effect Nov. 1.