What would you do if a loved one collapsed? You'd likely call 9-1-1 and assume that the dispatcher would assist you in providing CPR, right?
However, that's not always the case. In Alabama, 9-1-1 dispatchers are not required to provide CPR instructions to callers. According to the Alabama 9-1-1 Board, the state has 88 emergency communication districts (ECDs), each with a 9-1-1 director and varying levels of requirements to implement CPR instructions.
The American Heart Association has been working hard to pass a statewide Telephone CPR (T-CPR) policy that would ensure Alabama's 9-1-1 operators would be trained in high-quality telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation and be able to provide detailed instructions over the phone to someone assisting a victim during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. You might recall that, thanks to Representative Connie Rowe, we introduced T-CPR legislation last year. Despite roadblocks, we were able to ignite conversations for standardizing and improving the delivery of high-quality T-CPR instructions by 9-1-1 operators.
Currently, we are working with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) in their efforts to update and repeal current standards for 9-1-1 operators. ADPH recently took measures to change the rules on how emergency medical services operate. We're excited that the new proposed rule change will require 9-1-1 operators to be certified in CPR and to provide pre-arrival medical care instructions to the caller.
We are halfway through the regulatory process, with a 45-day public comment period followed by the adoption of the rule change by the State Health Committee. We support and applaud the efforts of the ADPH in helping save lives in Alabama. We also are very thankful to You're the Cure advocates who have championed this issue, especially Dr. Michael Kurz.
If you or a loved one has been affected by cardiac arrest, and Telephone CPR could - or did - help save a life, we'd love to hear from you! Click here to share your story with us.