OKLAHOMA CITY, May 17, 2023 – The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, applauds the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt for the passage of House Bill 1590, the Haiden Fleming Memorial Act, which requires and funds training for 911 operators in telecommunicator CPR, also known as T-CPR.
Stitt signed the bill into law Wednesday, and it will go into effect on Nov. 1, 2024.
More than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. Of those victims, nine out of 10 will not survive. Bystander CPR, when performed immediately and effectively, can double or triple the chances of survival. The new law will mandate and appropriate funds for the T-CPR training. This legislation will equip all 911 operators across the state to have the capability of instructing callers in CPR over the phone until medical help arrives.
In a rural state such as Oklahoma, proper T-CPR instruction can be the difference between life and death, said Lance Terry, 911 coordinator for the state of Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma 911 will soon be able to receive calls using nationally standardized 21st-century technology that will work with modern devices,” Terry said. “Improving technology will improve response times to emergencies in the state. T-CPR training will help mitigate the emergency before units arrive on scene.”
The bill is named for Haiden Fleming, a 22-year-old who died after suffering a cardiac incident. The Haiden Fleming Memorial Act was authored by Rep. Jim Grego of Wilburton, Sen. Casey Murdock of Felt and co-authored by Sen. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens of Tahlequah.
“The passage of House Bill 1590 is a monumental step in the right direction for a safer and healthier Oklahoma,” said Alisa Northcutt, government relations director for the American Heart Association in Oklahoma. “Not only does this legislation take Oklahoma’s 911 technology into the 21st century, but it also includes training requirements for 911 operators that can and will better equip call-takers throughout the state to provide emergency services more efficiently resulting in more lives being saved.”
“We are thankful Oklahoma’s elected officials took a crucial step forward for our state's public safety and health,” Northcutt added.
The state’s 911 operators will be required to complete an in-person or virtual high quality telecommunicator CPR training course by July 1, 2024. The training will come at no extra cost to taxpayers, though the legislation would increase the fee for devices capable of calling 911 by 50 cents per month.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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