SIERRA VISTA — Priority Dispatch System protocols enabled a Southeastern Arizona Communications (SEACOM) dispatcher to instruct bystanders in St. David as they provided life-saving aid to a construction worker who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest on Saturday, July 17, while working on a homeowner’s property.

The homeowner, Lloyd Koppes, was filming construction activities for posterity and saw the situation unfold. He called 911 and reached SEACOM Public Safety Dispatcher Rebecca Colby, while quickly retrieving an Automated External Defibrillator from his home before joining another worker already at the man’s side.

Medics were quickly dispatched, and Colby immediately helped give aid while first responders were en route. Using Priority Dispatch System Emergency Medical Dispatch protocols, Colby walked the men through using the AED and performing chest compressions. After a shock was delivered with the AED and initial compressions were performed, the man began breathing on his own. The men provided medical assistance for more than eight minutes. When medics arrived, he was responsive and breathing sufficiently.

Koppes later sent SEACOM and HCI Ambulance an email thanking Colby for her professionalism, patience, and proficiency as she helped guide the men. Even though he had CPR training, Koppes said he found the guidance invaluable. He also thanked the medic team for their quick response. He said that the man who suffered a cardiac arrest was in good health and spirits at the hospital.

“You were part of a miracle Saturday morning … the service you provide the community is essential and invaluable,” Koppes said.

HCI Ambulance Operations Director Kevin Venos thanked Koppes for his life-saving actions. “You should be very proud of yourself for remaining cool and letting the dispatcher instruct you through the event. If it weren’t for you and your actions my crew would not have had much to work with,” Venos said, in an email.

SEACOM implemented the Priority Dispatch System for medical and fire calls last year with the assistance of a grant awarded by the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona. The system went live for law enforcement calls at SEACOM on Tuesday, July 20.

“This incident exemplifies the how the Priority Dispatch System empowers our dispatchers to provide a zero-second response by offering sometimes life-saving instructions to callers while first responders are en route,” SEACOM Director Michael Cline said. “Our dispatchers offer a calm, professional voice when people need it most. I’m proud of the extraordinary work they do every day to help protect residents in Cochise County.”

SEACOM is one of just a handful of dispatch centers in Arizona capable of offering pre-arrival and post-dispatch instructions to callers reporting all types of emergencies. This enables dispatchers to provide vetted instructions to callers for whatever situation they find themselves in, so they know how to help while responders are still en route.

The intuitive software standardizes the call taking process using an internationally recognized system that guides dispatchers through each call, provides prompts for questions to ask, and automatically prioritizes calls based on the responses given. Appropriate resources are dispatched to the incident while the dispatcher continues asking questions to get additional information for the responding units. This means there is no delay in response and ensures responders have all the information and tools they need when they arrive on scene.

Submitted by SEACOM

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