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Proposal would require CPR training for 911 operators in Wisconsin

Laurel White

Wisconsin Public Radio

A proposal in the state Legislature would require 911 operators to get training to help callers administer CPR to people who need it.

Under the proposal, every 911 call station must have people trained to give CPR instructions over the phone, or have a plan to transfer callers to a dispatch center that can provide those instructions.

The Wisconsin Counties Association opposes the bill, arguing it doesn’t provide enough money for ongoing training of workers.

"We're concerned that this is an unfunded mandate on our counties, and with our resources becoming more and more limited, that this would be a burden on our counties to find the funding to train these dispatchers," said Marcie Rainbolt, government affairs associate at the Wisconsin Counties Association, at a public hearing on the measure in November.

The bill provides $250,000 for the first round of training, but doesn't guarantee money for future years.

The Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, and Badger State Sheriffs Association also oppose the bill.

Supporters of the proposal say it will save lives.

"This gives people a chance to not just sit there and stare at their loved one, but have them do something and be actively involved in trying to save a life," said Jon Cohn, president of the Wisconsin Fire Chiefs Association.

A number of public health groups, including the American Heart Association, also support the bill.

It has yet to be voted on in committee.

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2018, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Find more WPR news on KUWS-FM 91.3 or wpr.org.

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