Maria Gilbert of Longview has instructed people on how to deliver babies, give CPR and escape a flooded vehicle, all without being considered a first responder.
Her title is set to change thanks to a new state law which will classify 911 dispatchers as first responders in Washington and create a statewide training and certification for the job.
John Diamond will be the next executive director of the Cowlitz County 911 Center.
The law creates a bureaucratic switch, where 911 dispatchers at government-run centers will no longer be considered administrative support, opening up the possibility of better state benefit plans and earlier retirement, similar to police and fire personnel.
Gilbert said she has been a dispatcher for almost 16 years, and a volunteer firefighter for 23 years. However, at her paid job, where she also helps save lives, the state doesn’t identify her as a first responder, even though