Press Room

Emergency Telecommunications Centers Are a Vital Part of a Life-Saving System


Policies Around Tele-CPR Ensure High Standard of Care for
 the Safety and Well-Being of D.C. Residents

Each year an estimated 350,000 sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) events occur in the United States in an out-of-hospital environment. In 2020, D.C. Fire and EMS reported 964 SCAs in D.C. with only a 4.7% survival rate. An SCA occurs when the heart’s electrical system abruptly malfunctions, and the heart suddenly stops beating normally. It can happen to anyone, at any time. Almost all of these events result in a call for help to 911. Without quick intervention in the form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, death from SCA is certain.

Telecommunicators, such as 911 call takers, are true first responders and a critical link in the cardiac arrest chain of survival. A properly trained telecommunicator can make the difference between life and death because when CPR begins prior to the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, the person in cardiac arrest’s chance of survival increases by 2 to 3 times. Emergency response times can vary depending on where one lives, raising important equity considerations. For example, in under-resourced Wards 7 and 8 in D.C., response times are typically higher than in other areas of the District, increasing the need for strong T-CPR policies to save more lives of those most at risk for heart-related emergencies.

T-CPR policies focus on the provision of CPR instruction for cardiac arrests as the standard of care. The policies require ongoing training for 911 call takers and continuous quality improvement and testing to ensure that they can effectively teach a caller how to perform CPR over the phone. This is essential to expanding the chain of survival and increasing the likelihood of survival until EMS arrives.

The American Heart Association (AHA) supports the implementation of a quality program in T-CPR because achieving adherence to these programs could save countless lives.

Owen Billman

“Telecommunicators are key to ensuring the highest standards of care are in place for the safety and well-being of all D.C. residents in every ward,” said Owen Billman, president of Blake Real Estate and chair of the board of directors for the American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region.

In Washington, D.C., in 2020, D.C. Fire and EMS reported only 94 instances of bystander CPR, where a bystander initiates compressions, and begins life-saving CPR until Fire and EMS arrives. A quality T-CPR program would help those bystanders quickly learn what to do over the phone by trained 911 call takers.

Implementing a quality program in T-CPR and achieving adherence to the performance standards outlined in the policy can save countless lives. This is a critical step in having a strong Chain of Survival that can improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of cardiac arrest.

Learn more about the issue of T-CPR at cpr.heart.org.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yes, I would like to receive emails from Washington Informer Newspaper. Sign me up!


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker