Pre-Arrival Instructions for 911 Callers
Earlier this week, I presented Senate Bill 1409 to my colleagues on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. This bill would create a regional emergency medical dispatch center to assist 9-1-1 callers.
Under SB 1409, 9-1-1 callers could be transferred to a regional center that can give "pre-arrival instructions" to assist in emergency situations until EMS can arrive. These can range from CPR instruction, to bleeding control and basic first aid.
In an emergency situation, every second counts, and I am confident that this legislation will help save lives.
How "Pre-Arrival" Instructions Can Save Lives
The minutes immediately following an emergency are critical, and bystander actions can make a difference in the outcome of the situation.
Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) involves trained 911 operators recognizing medical emergencies and providing potentially life-saving, "pre-arrival" instructions to callers. Using simple instructions, emergency medical dispatchers can assist callers in administering CPR, providing first aid for choking, controlling bleeding, and even delivering a baby. Very often, pre-arrival instructions can mean the difference between life and death.
While most urban communities are already equipped with trained emergency dispatchers, rural areas have been left behind. A pilot program being offered this session (SB 1409 / HB 3497) would explore the value of providing emergency pre-arrival instructions to 911 callers in areas where the service is not currently provided.
The 77th Legislature approved a pilot program to test the efficacy of using emergency medical dispatchers located in an existing regional dispatch resource center to provide "pre-arrival instructions" to 911 callers in certain parts of rural Texas. Although the EMD bill was approved and funded by the Legislature, the funds for the pilot program were not certified by the Comptroller.
The legislation provides for three funding options for the pilot:
State money from the 911 services fee fund
Partial funding from participating political subdivisions
Last session, the Texas Department of Health estimated that a pilot program could be implemented for approximately $300,000.
With funding from participating political subdivisions and possible grant money from external sources, the amount of state funding needed to launch the pilot in 2004 to 2005 could be as little as $150,000.
In the Texas Senate, there are very few issues that everyone agrees on, but I am proud to say that every one of my 30 Senate colleagues has co-authored this legislation. The bill should soon pass out of the Senate and be on its way to the House of Representatives and then to the Governor's desk.
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: firstname.lastname@example.org.