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Bystander CPR instructions for emergency medical dispatchers

911 saves lives

Article Highlights

Dispatchers should help 9-1-1 callers identify victims in cardiac arrest and coach callers to provide immediate CPR.

Dispatchers should confidently give Hands-Only CPR instructions for adults who have had a cardiac arrest not caused by asphyxia (as in drowning). 

If more dispatchers followed these processes, thousands of lives could be saved every year. 

Communities should regularly evaluate 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers’ performance and the overall emergency response system.


9-1-1 dispatchers can save more lives by coaching bystanders in CPR

Grief over losing loved one linked to higher heart attack risks

Hands-Only CPR

Media Materials

Agonal Breathing (audio opens in new window) is often described as "snoring."  Even people without CPR training can identify that the breathing of a cardiac arrest victim is NOT normal and CPR is needed.

Actual Calls

Want to learn more about this statement in action? Test yourself! Try to find what worked well and what needed improvement in the calls below.

Good Coaching Example

Good CPR Instructions

Clear Cardiac Arrest Recognition

Not Ideal

Lead author E. Brooke Lerner, Ph.D.