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Assemblymember Rodriguez Advances Legislation to Establish the 9-1-1 Public Education Campaign

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Yesterday, Assembly Bill (AB) 296, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez       (D – Pomona), passed on the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management’s consent calendar with a unanimous vote. This legislation would establish the 9-1-1 Public Education Campaign to be administered by the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to educate the public on when to call 9-1-1 for assistance.

“Throughout my more than 30 years serving as an EMT, I experienced the impact non-emergency 9-1-1 calls have on our entire emergency medical system. 9-1-1 is routinely called inappropriately, and educating the public on the difference between the true necessity of a 9-1-1 call or other non-emergency services will alleviate this impact,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.

The goals of the 9-1-1 Public Education Campaign would include raising public awareness of when to call and when not to call 9-1-1 and reducing the number of unnecessary calls to 9-1-1 centers. Another goal would be to reduce delays in the 9-1-1 system caused by non-emergency calls tying up emergency resources so that those needing immediate care can receive such.

Last year, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management held an Oversight Hearing on The Impact of Ambulance Patient Offload Delays (APOT) on Emergency Response. One of the recommendations from stakeholders from both the local and state level who participated in this hearing was to educate the public on when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1 for assistance, as there were many instances of the public calling 9-1-1 centers for non-urgent matters.  

APOT has been an issue for decades, but first responders are now spending several hours at a time waiting to get a patient a bed. AB 296 would work to reduce the frequency of first responder resources being held or delayed at hospital emergency departments as a result of inappropriate 9-1-1 calls, ultimately alleviating the unduly wait times we are currently facing.

“With limited resources, understaffed dispatch centers (resulting in getting placed on hold when calling 9-1-1), and the advent of Next Generation 9-1-1 which will allow text and video to 9-1-1, it is past time for another public education campaign on the proper use of the 9-1-1 system. When 9-1-1 is inappropriately used for non-emergency purposes it can cause significant challenges to getting resources to where they are most needed in the community,” said Rosa Ramos, President of the California Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association.

Assemblymember Rodriguez (Twitter) represents the 53rd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Upland. He is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management.