A new proposed bill in Madison may require more special training for state dispatchers. The proposition calls for all Wisconsin 9-1-1 dispatchers to have training in delivering CPR instructions over the phone to bystanders helping a person in cardiac arrest.
Jay Loeffler, the administrator for the La Crosse County Emergency Services says, "Even if you do know CPR when you come across that situation, it's always a help to have someone that can actually talk you through it. So it's good for people who don't have that kind of training, and the ones that do have that training, it's great to have someone there who can help you through the process."
The American Heart Association is a big backer of the bill because it simply supports heart health and this proactive initiative. Catherine Kolkmeier, a volunteer for the American Heart Association Wisconsin Advocacy Committee adds, "CPR has been a really big issue for the American Heart Association. Last year we worked with the legislature to get CPR in schools, so now all graduating seniors receive CPR training before they graduate."
When a bystander can call 9-1-1 to get instructions for CPR they can become a lifesaver. Catherine mentions, "For every minute that foes by after cardiac arrest begins, you have a ten percent less chance of surviving, so it's very, very important to get early intervention as soon as possible and make sure that that's effective and that you're doing it well and doing it right." Fortunately, the La Crosse county dispatch team has already taken a step in the right direction when it comes to having a service like CPR instructions over the phone. Jay talks about the partnership with Gundersen Lutheran Health Systems by saying, "What we do is we take the initial information, get the location, get the general nature of the incident. Find out what the issues are and then we transfer that call to Gundersen who does perform this service."
The bill, which has wide bi-partisan support, would be crucial for La Crosse and outlying communities. Kolkmeier adds, "It's critical that people, especially those who are far away from a medical center, or where from the ambulances are coming from, to receive this kind of walking through process of going through CPR with someone." The bill would also allow a line of communication for individuals who don't have experience with CPR to not miss a beat when every second counts. There are 350,000 cardiac arrest incidents away from hospitals each year and just under half of those incidents include bystander CPR.