GLASGOW – A proposed state law that would mandate training in telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation for emergency services telecommunicators – dispatchers – was one of the primary topics of discussion during the Glasgow Management Control Board's meeting Tuesday.
Kentucky Revised Statute 15.550, created in 1986 and amended in 2016, already requires a 40-hour training in subjects “appropriate for the basic training of law enforcement telecommunicators in the technique of emergency services communications,” and it says that the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council is to approve all the training curriculum and instructions.
House Bill 265 would create two additional paragraphs within that KRS. The first proposes that a portion of that required 40-hour coursework be training in telephone CPR. “This training shall incorporate recognition protocols for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, compression-only CPR instruction for callers and continuous education,” the bill states.
Any employee of a public safety answering point that answers calls for emergency medical conditions, such as the one in Glasgow, “shall, in the appropriate circumstances, provide telephonic assistance in administering CPR directly or transfer calls to a dedicated phone line, call center, or other public safety answering point (PSAP) to provide the caller with assistance in administering T-CPR,” the second proposed new paragraph states.
Charlie O'Neal, executive director of the Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service and a member of the management control board, which has oversight authority on most of the operations of the dispatch center, said his sources were saying that a financial impact statement would be attached to the bill that could make it “dead in the water.”
Chris Freeman, director of the Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Communications Center, said he is on the Kentucky Emergency Numbers Association's Education Committee, and that group is generally in favor of the idea in concept, but he said it believes the training could be a free one that is available online, so there would not be a financial impact.
Freeman and O'Neal also discussed their preferences regarding the state training and certification dispatchers get for medical dispatching that is on a particular system, PowerPhone. Freeman said it creates constraints on dispatch centers to use either that system, which gives preference to a particular company, or get all their staff members different training and certification if they prefer another system, e.g. Priority Dispatch. Freeman also said the staff members coming back from training don't like the one that is built in, and O'Neal said he would not support the implementation of PowerPhone, and they could aim for hosting a training session on Priority Dispatch here.
The three board members present – O'Neal, Glasgow Fire Department Chief Bryan Marr and Glasgow Police Department Major Eddie Lindsey – also received updated statistics on calls for service in 2017, by agency, and other call numbers. GPD Chief Guy Howie and GPD Capt. Charlie Lowery, the other two voting board members, were absent.
According to a summary sheet provided by the dispatch center, the total number of calls for service in 2016 was 54,395, and that number increased to 57,585 for 2017.