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SPRINGFIELD – Emergency dispatchers will now have access to many of the same services and benefits as other first responders thanks to legislation signed into law with support from State Senator Patrick Joyce.

“Emergency medical dispatchers are the first point of contact to gather clues and cues about an emergency,” said Joyce (D-Essex). “This new law recognizes these folks in the important role that they play during a crisis.”  

The new law updates existing state statute to include “emergency medical dispatchers” as first responders, enabling them to receive many of the same services and benefits. The new law also recognizes not only the role that dispatchers play, but the fact that many of them face the same issues as other responders, including post-traumatic stress disorders and other issues.

“As an emergency medical dispatcher of over 25 years I am excited and appreciative,” said Kankakee County emergency medical dispatcher Zelma Evans. “We have always been told that we are the ‘first’ first responders because we ‘take the call’, and having this classification puts us side by side with the thousands of first responder heroes we serve daily. Now we can actually say ‘They see us’.”

Senate Bill 3127 was signed into law in May and takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.