Cardiac Emergency Communications

Last week, APPD instructors were busy putting on our first two Cardiac Emergency Communications classes (AKA: T-CPR) and two Basic CPR Classes for area dispatchers.

The Cardiac Emergency Communications class is a new, legislatively mandated course for all telecommunications personnel. In the 87th regular session, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 786, which requires each TCO to be trained in telecommunication cardiopulmonary resuscitation as part of each 2-year training cycle (Section 1701.3071, Occupations Code). To take this course, the communications officers must be current on their basic CPR certificate.

APPD is one of the first departments to offer this training in the state, and we are currently working to determine our future policies and procedures for providing pre-arrival CPR instructions.

Prior to these edits to the occupations code, most telecommunications departments did not provide any medical instructions to callers due to a lack of available training and no statewide training curriculum, therefore increasing the risk of legal liability. The exceptions were dispatch departments that had adopted an EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) program.

So why does APPD not adopt EMD? When utilizing EMD, the dispatcher becomes 100 percent tied to EACH medical call and is not allowed to do anything else (that means contacting EMS, PD, Fire, or answering any other calls), so this means we need a minimum of 2 dispatchers on at a time 24/7, but even that would limit us to one medical call at a time. This means that in order to adopt an EMD program, APPD would have to, at a minimum, triple our current staffing levels. This is why, generally, only metropolitan area dispatch centers are able to adopt EMD programs.

So what does this mean for citizens? Once policies and procedures are updated, dispatch may be able to provide CPR pre-arrival instructions (depending on the situation) to a caller who is able and willing to give CPR, but lacks knowledge on what to do.

Dispatchers from the following agencies attended this training course: Aransas Pass PD, Ingleside PD, San Patricio County, Beeville PD, Port of Corpus Christi PD, Rockport/Aransas County, Kenedy County, Robstown PD, Mission PD, and Bishop PD.

The best solution is preparation. If you are interested in taking a CPR Class, the Aransas Pass Fire Department and Tri-County EMS periodically provide CPR classes that are open to the public.