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Lack of funding means inconsistent training in 911 dispatch centers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the help from Aurora Health Care and Acuity Insurance, Sheboygan County Dispatch has launched its Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). This system allows dispatchers to give pre-arrival instructions to bystanders before emergency crews get there.

From situations like bleeding control to CPR, 911 dispatchers in Sheboygan County are now trained to help.

"It takes responders time to get to the scene and in some cases people can't wait for those responders. Those dispatchers are able to provide that care,” said Dr. Steve Zils, Aurora Health Care.

But not all dispatchers in the state are trained to provide this type of care.

According to the National Emergency Numbers Association, there is no central database but estimate there are about 100 dispatch centers in the state.

In Southeastern Wisconsin, there are about 40 centers. CBS 58 has reached out to these locations to see if dispatchers are trained in CPR or EMD. The dispatch centers listed in the slideshow are the ones that returned our calls. 

"For every minute that someone goes without CPR their chance of survival, decreases goes by 10 percent,” said Zils.

These are some discrepancies at dispatch centers across the state and have different levels of training. One lawmaker is working to get all 911 dispatchers CPR certified so they can provide over the phone instructions to anyone who may need it.

State Representative Treig Pronchinske wrote a bill that would require telecommunicators to be CPR certified or be able to the transfer the call to someone who is.

“I want to bridge the gap,” said Pronschinske.

Pronschinske is also a volunteer firefighter and acknowledges the importance of CPR. 

EMD Trained

Dispatch centers trained in EMD

CPR Certified

Centers where dispatchers are CPR certified.

Transfers Calls

Dispatch centers that that transfers calls to first responders.

For dispatchers in Sheboygan County, the EMD system has made all the difference.

"There is a feeling of we are connected with the emergency system in a way we have never been before. We can give life saving measures even before first people get on scene,” said Lt. Kristy De Blaey, Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office.

Pronschinske is now looking for cosponsors for the bill and hopes to get it to committee.  Milwaukee County Communications Divisions plans on getting CPR trained in the next year. Other agencies told us they are in the process of acquiring EMD training. 

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