INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
All Indiana emergency dispatchers will have a year to complete training in
telephone CPR under a new law taking effect Monday.
Officials say at
least 10% of the nearly 2,400 people working in 911 call centers around the
state lack such training.
“We recognized that
minutes are being wasted when people could be helping their loved ones,”
Danielle Patterson, government relations director of the American Heart
Association Indiana, told the Indianapolis Star.
Jeff Schemmer, the
executive director of Hamilton County Public Safety Communications, said he
considers the training to be especially vital for rural areas, where
emergency crews face longer trips to arrive.
“If we can get CPR
started immediately, it increases the chances of survivability for an
individual suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest,” he said.
Schemmer added that
his team is already skilled in telephone CPR and has been for at least 10
"We have to have 24
hours a year to keep up our certification,” Schemmer explained. “So, there’s
a lot of classes we have to continually go through whenever they update
executive director of the Statewide 9-1-1 Board, said many staff members may
know hands-on CPR, but this is different.
“It’s one thing to
perform CPR with your hands on,” he said. “It’s also important to know how
to describe that and take control of a scene that they can’t even see.”
Michael Clark, who
works in emergency medical dispatch for the city of Lawrence, said
dispatchers have a set of cards they can read from on such calls, though
they often veer off the script to calm down callers.
“I try to establish
a quick rapport, get their first name, be repetitive, say their name over
and over again, tell them they’re doing a good job, try to help get them
outside of the excitement of the situation and focus on the task at hand,”