Telecommunicator CPR turns bystanders into heroes

Special to the SW Rankin News


CPR Awareness Week began June 1, and while this lifesaving skill continues to be a first line of help for victims experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, something called “T-CPR,” short for Telecommunicator CPR, can help save lives by turning bystanders into heroes.


“T-CPR is different from CPR training,” said Jennifer Hopping, executive director for the Metro Jackson American Heart Association. “It’s a literal lifeline when someone needs help. If adopted as a policy in Mississippi, it would require all 9-1-1 telecommunicators to be trained on how to provide high-quality T-CPR instructions.”


Every year, more than 350,000 Americans fall victim to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the unexpected loss of heart function. Only about one in ten victims survive. Successful resuscitation of victims requires an immediate response to improve their chance of survival. Telecommunicators can be lifesaving coaches when seconds matter.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, hopes T-CPR training will be given to all emergency dispatchers and 9-1-1 operators to save lives.


“A telecommunicator who effectively engages the caller, identifies the cardiac arrest, and coaches effective CPR could double or triple the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest,” said statement author Michael Kurz, M.D., immediate past-chair of the Emergency Cardiac Care subcommittee on systems of care for the American Heart Association. “Through these actions, the telecommunicator can make the difference between life and death.”


Right now, more than half of the nation’s emergency medical telecommunicators do not provide any T-CPR instructions for responding to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Standardizing and improving the delivery of high-quality T-CPR instructions will save as many as 13,000 lives annually in the United States.


“A program of T-CPR offers the safest, most cost-efficient and most effective approach to substantially increase community lay rescuer CPR,” added Kurz. "Thousands of additional lives can be saved each year if we can achieve this goal.”


Earlier this year, a new Policy Statement released by the American Heart Association provided guidance and resources to construct and maintain a science-based T-CPR program. Learn more about the program, and the importance of T-CPR, at heart.org.


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