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"It's going to improve survival:" New law ensures Wisconsin 911 dispatchers can give CPR instructions over the phone

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Governor Scott Walker signed a measure into law that ensures 9-1-1 dispatchers in the state can give CPR instructions over the phone.  

“It’s a great thing, it’s going to improve survival and life in Wisconsin," said Dr. Sarang Baman, physician.

Doctors say every minute a cardiac arrest patient goes without CPR, there is a 10 percent decrease in survival. Under this new law, 911 dispatchers in Wisconsin will be able to give bystanders CPR instructions over the phone before emergency crews get there.In three years, centers will be required to provide CPR assistance or transfer the caller to a center that can.

 “I couldn’t be happier to get this through the senate and assembly. It can be anyone tomorrow or today who will need some help,” said Rep. Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi).

There is no official database for dispatch centers and each one has a different level of training.

“It’s been identified as a national issue, there is no mandated training,” said Christine Westrich, Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director.

This new law will create a statewide standard. Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee dispatch have been at the forefront of CPR assisted-dispatch. 

“We were a pretty good pilot. I’d say a  model organization for the state to look to see how we’ve done business here,” said Westrich.

Through the Milwaukee County Dispatcher Assisted Bystander CPR program, 9-1-1 calls involving cardiac arrest are transferred from local municipalities to the Milwaukee County EMS Communication Center.

From there the EMS dispatcher can walk the caller through CPR instruction step by step.

“Just the fact that we’ve saved 21 lives is quite a number, without that service we provide to the caller those people could have been fatalities,” said Westrich.

The City of Milwaukee released the following statement: 

“While state legislation passed this year which requires dispatcher assisted CPR, the Fire Department’s 911 center in the City of Milwaukee has been providing this critical assistance for over 12 years. The City of Milwaukee’s Police and Fire Departments operate the largest and busiest 911 center in the state of Wisconsin, and have been leaders in the field of dispatch assisted CPR and other pre-arrival medical guidance for many years. The City of Milwaukee fields over 1 million calls per year at its 911 center, and from December 2017 to April 2018, the City provided CPR instruction to 93 individuals in need.”

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