TeleCPR training bill heads to governor’s desk

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Joey Pellegrino

A bill that would get 911 dispatchers trained in teleCPR is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk after Florida lawmakers unanimously passed it last week.

When lives are on the line, seconds matter. A Collier County 911 dispatcher, for instance, once had to walk a girl through performing CPR on her mother, who had lost consciousness while horseback riding in the Picayune Strand State Forest in February.

“You’re going to go 2 inches deep and come all the way up each time,” the dispatcher could be heard saying to the caller. “This is going to keep her going until the paramedics arrive.”

Scenarios like this are why Sen. Danny Burgess filed Senate bill 890, calling for 911 operators to get regular certifications for specific telecommunicator CPR.

“Our dispatchers, our 911 operators, are the definition of first responders,” Burgess said. “It is a critical, life-saving device. There’s a lot of data out there that shows if CPR was available, somebody’s life may have been saved.”

According to the American Heart Association, immediate CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

Casey Allo, chief of emergency communications in Lee County, says his dispatchers have been trained and certified in teleCPR since 2007.

“There’s actually a step-by-step process that we walk them through for cardiac arrest,” Allo said. “It starts off with asking the address and the phone number of the emergency. And then the next two questions is, is the patient conscious and breathing?”

Allo says operators must become the calming voice during a panicked situation.

“It’s good to get the cadence out loud for the person,” Allo said. “We’re giving them instructions; they’re becoming a helper on scene and their attention completely redirects from hysteria to, ‘I’m going to save this person.'”

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office did not have an update on the condition of that woman in the state forest. Collier dispatchers also go through training to instruct CPR over the phone.

Burgess says a lot of this teleCPR training would be free, so it shouldn’t be a burden on dispatch centers.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.