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911 Connects

Survey: More Than Half of 911 Centers Face Staffing Crisis

Published Apr 2023

The staffing crisis within emergency communications is not new, but there’s reason to believe the problem is worsening. A study released by the International Academies of Dispatch (IAED) and the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) reports that more than half of 911 centers in the U.S. are facing a genuine staffing emergency.

The survey of 774 PSAPs/ECCs in 47 U.S. states found that nearly one-third of respondents reported high vacancy rates in 2022, and nearly every center said they’d lost employees last year, for a total of 3,952 staff departures across the centers surveyed.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • The staffing crisis appears to affect centers of all sizes and across every region and parts of every state surveyed.

  • Vacancy rates varied, but nearly every center experienced some unfilled positions: 166 centers reported a vacancy rate ranging from 30% to 49%; 92 reported a vacancy rate between 50% and 69%; and 13 said 70% or more of their positions were unfilled.

  • More than one-third of centers said they have fewer positions filled in 2022 than in 2019, in spite of an increasing volume of emergency calls annually.

The survey, conducted jointly by IAED and NASNA, was released at NENA’s “911 Goes to Washington” event in Washington, DC, in February. Watch for the full report to be released later this year.

To learn more, read “Facing Staffing Challenges, Industry Stakeholders Share Tips to Attract and Retain Telecommunicators” from Issue 13 of “ Connects.”