Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Wednesday that could increase survival chances for those suffering a cardiac arrest. The bill includes high-quality telecommunication training, also known as T-CPR, for 911 operators in the event that the person on the other line is trying to help someone that has gone into cardiac arrest with no medical professionals around to help.
The American Heart Association said more than 350,000 Americans experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, which is more than the populations of Norman, Broken Arrow, and Edmond combined.
The AHA said a bill like this could triple the chance of someone living because CPR could be started by a bystander immediately as the 911 operator talks them through the process.
Oklahoma 911 Coordinator Lance Terry said, “seconds can mean the difference between life and death and Oklahoma is 80% rural, which means the more rural, the longer the response time, and this will now help with a higher chance of survival.”
State Sen. Darrell Weaver of Moore echoed Terry’s sentiments.
“I was a CPR instructor for many years and I am excited about this bill and how it can save lives in Oklahoma,” said Weaver, who authored SB 687. “I salute the 911 operators and their key role in assisting to save lives during cardiac events.”
While 911 is frequently called, the majority of individuals experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do not receive CPR. Telecommunicators must partner with callers to quickly identify a cardiac arrest and, in turn, provide T-CPR instructions while rapidly dispatching the appropriate medical response.
“T-CPR offers a safe, cost-efficient and effective approach to increase lay rescuer CPR,” says Sarah Rivin, state government relations director for the AHA in Oklahoma. “An effective T-CPR program requires a systems approach with commitment from call-takers, dispatchers and responders.”
They all said the first step is to always call 911 immediately, but now this training could help save a life over the phone until crews can get to the person in need.