Imagine for a moment, someone collapses in front of you in a store or your living room, and there are no doctors or defibrillators. You have your phone and desperately dial 911. Ambulances, unfortunately regardless of where we put them, will never be fast enough for most sudden cardiac events.
About 350,000 people across the United States suffer a sudden cardiac arrest every year in an out-of-hospital setting. And more than 90 percent who suffer such an event outside a hospital die from it. 90 percent never make it out of the hospital again. Most people do not take CPR training. Or if they do, they don’t brush up on it. And so, many people do not know what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest. Most often, the person they cannot help is a loved one.
For moments like this, the American Heart Association is working across the country to help 911 callers receive high-quality telephone CPR instructions. The Greater Southeast Affiliate has begun working on this policy effort in most of its states.
Here is an overview of Telephone CPR policy efforts in the GSA:
- In Alabama, we introduced House Bill 300 during the 2018 legislative session; however, the bill did not get a committee hearing and was unable to move through the legislative process. We're continuing to develop relationships with key stakeholders and plan to reintroduce the bill for the 2019 legislative session. Learn more at yourethecure.org/telecpralabama.
- In Florida, we have conducted research on how to proceed forward with the policy change and are now developing relationships with key state agency members.
- During the 2018 Georgia legislative session, we introduced House Bill 1016 that stalled. As such, we are regrouping on the issue. Our focus is on building a larger, stronger coalition to support the policy change. Once significant progress has been made, we will begin educating lawmakers.
- On May 31, Louisiana Governor signed Senate Bill 264 by Senator Troy Carter into law. The legislation will take effect on August 1, 2018. Learn more at yourethecure.org/telecprlouisiana.
- In Mississippi, we are examining the political landscape and will determine over the summer if we will push Telephone CPR policy next fiscal year.
- In Tennessee, we are in the early stages of the campaign, conducting research and reaching out to state decision makers. We anticipate working with the state Department of Commerce and Insurance to pass a regulation next fiscal year.
Learn more about Telephone CPR at heart.org.