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 475,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest every year. 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, most of our population does not know what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest. Most often, the person they cannot help is a loved one.
Telecommunicators are the true, first responders and a critical link in the cardiac arrest chain of survival. It is the telecommunicator, in partnership with the caller, who has the opportunity to identify a patient in cardiac arrest, providing the initial level of care by delivering Telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) instructions to the caller, and quickly dispatching the appropriate level of help. There are minimal acceptable standards for timely and high-quality delivery of T-CPR instructions by emergency telecommunicators.
The Association Advocates
The American Heart Association supports requiring all 911 telecommunicators that provide dispatch for emergency medical conditions to be trained in the delivery of high-quality telephone CPR.
- Telecommunicator CPR Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Telecommunicator CPR Stakeholder Information (heart.org)
- Hands-Only CPR (heart.org)
- Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Are They Different? (heart.org)
- T-CPR Time Interval Standards (PDF)
- Watch: Mary's Story (Facebook.com)