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MN Legislature Mulls Telephone/CPR Training

According to the American Heart Association, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can double or triple the chance of surviving cardiac arrest. (HansMartinPaul/Pixabay)
According to the American Heart Association, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can double or triple the chance of surviving cardiac arrest. (HansMartinPaul/Pixabay)
March 12, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Advocates will gather at the Capitol in St. Paul today to support Telephone CPR bills in the Legislature. The bills would help ensure 911 operators are trained to talk callers through potentially life-saving actions.

Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, is sponsoring the version in the upper house. He said most Minnesota dispatchers know how to coach a bystander who calls in a cardiac arrest, but not all of them can. He said delaying CPR can make a life-or-death difference for a heart attack victim.

"Every minute takes 10 percent chance away from that survival,” Hall said. “So when you're talking the average of nine minutes, that's a 90 percent chance of mortality then."

The House version of the legislation is on the schedule for the Public Safety Committee this Wednesday evening. And Tuesday morning, legislators and advocates will host a reception in the Capitol, including free hands-only CPR training, stories from cardiac-arrest survivors and audio from real 911 calls.

The bills would mandate training for emergency operators and allocate funding for it. Hall said the point is to bring everyone up to where they should be.

"Most of the departments have it already,” he said. “The problem really, I think, is mostly in the rural areas. They may not do quite as much training in some of the stuff that some people think are extras, we think are really important."

Hall said legislators have not yet received the formal fiscal note indicating how much the legislation would cost. But the bills have sponsors from both parties, and Hall is optimistic that the state can afford it this year.

"This is a life issue, and life issues are nonpartisan,” Hall said. “And I think the Republicans and the Democrats are going to work together like we usually do and get the important things done."

More information on Telephone CPR is online at CPR.heart.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - MN