Local News

A 911 dispatcher helped save an 18-month-old child’s life using a research-based dispatch system, the North Platte Police Department says.

Shortly after midnight Feb. 5, a parent called 911 to say their child had stopped breathing, according to a press release from the police department.

Dispatcher Joan Lerch used Medical Priority Dispatch System, or MPDS, to give the parent over-the-phone instructions to perform CPR, according to the press release.

The dispatch system is research-based and was developed by a nonprofit group, the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Dispatchers ask a set of questions “to determine the appropriate response emergency dispatchers should send to those in need,” according to the press release.

The system also gives dispatchers step-by-step instructions to provide to the caller “while they wait for responders to arrive,” according to the press release.

Those instructions “play a key role in rendering aid,” police wrote in the press release.

The steps that the MPDS provided played a key role in improving the child’s safety and condition, police wrote. The dispatcher also used the system to help calm and assure the caller, police wrote.

Many callers wonder why dispatchers ask questions instead of just sending an ambulance, Lt. Steve Reeves said in the press release.

“Another staff member will dispatch the ambulance while the call taker completes the protocol with the caller,” he said.

Reeves called the protocol important, both to send the proper resources and “provide life-saving instructions” before emergency medical technicians arrive.

Because of the highly trained dispatchers and this system, callers and bystanders can intervene in emergency situations, police wrote. The research-based protocols help eliminate a feeling of helplessness a caller may otherwise feel as they wait for the ambulance.

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