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Arizona 911 dispatchers being trained to identify cardiac arrest faster

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in Arizona and across the country.

Experts said for every minute someone doesn't receive CPR during sudden cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by 10 percent.

"Dispatch-assisted CPR is crucial to improving survival from sudden cardiac arrest here in Arizona and nationwide," said Dr. Ben Bobrow, medical director at Arizona Department of Health Services.

"Without someone pushing hard and fast in the center of the victim's chest, survival is very unlikely. It's a similar concept for improving the system. We have to keep pushing hard and fast to get and evaluate the data from each and every one of our 911 centers to be able to continue to improve."

A new partnership between the department and emergency dispatch centers across Arizona serves as a national model. The department sponsors training and works with dispatchers and call-takers to evaluate and improve this life-saving intervention.

Since the program started in 2011, Mesa has increased the rates of bystander CPR by 27 percent and reduced the time to first chest compression by 37 percent. A review of hospital records shows these actions have saved the lives of at least 13 people.

The training in Mesa inspired ADHS to organize two dispatch academies in December and April. Dispatchers from across the state learned the latest techniques for identifying cardiac arrest over the phone and starting CPR instructions as early as possible during the 911 calls.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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