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Arizona needs more 911 operators — and the operators need better mental health care

911 might be one of the most important numbers you ever dial. In an emergency, it’s essential that someone is there to answer that call. But, there is a severe shortage of 911 dispatchers in Arizona right now. The Phoenix Fire Department’s Jim Frazier says it’s result of the pandemic and the incredible stress of the job.

Frazier is fire communications manager and a longtime 911 dispatcher. He said the mental health outcomes for people in his profession can be serious — but there are efforts now to improve them.

HB 2717 would designate dispatchers as first responders and give them access to more access to mental health services. Frazier spoke with The Show more about it.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.