Pitkin County 911 dispatchers gain first responder status

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ASPEN, Colo. — Pitkin County has elevated the status of its 911 dispatchers to first responders before a similar national effort took effect.

The Aspen Daily News reported Pitkin is the first county in Colorado and one of the first in the nation to reclassify its emergency dispatchers.

The U.S. government classifies dispatchers as administrative and clerical in nature, but the 911 Saves Act would upgrade the classification nationwide if approved by Congress.

Officials say Pitkin County 911 dispatchers are qualified to offer lifesaving instructions, including CPR, bleeding control, choking treatment, childbirth and airway maintenance over the telephone until paramedics arrive on the scene.

Officials say the classification was recognized last week and gives dispatchers access to better access to mental health services and grants for training.

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