Aurora, Grafton team up to improve cardiac arrest survival rates

911 dispatchers will provide instructions to callers involved in cardiac arrest scenarios


Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, the Village of Grafton and the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department 911 dispatch centers are collaborating on a new Emergency Medical Dispatch system to improve cardiac arrest patient survival rates.

911 dispatchers will now provide instructions to callers involved with cardiac arrest scenarios as well as other serious and potentially life-threatening situations. The instruction includes resuscitation techniques including chest compressions, enabling citizens to provide initial support to cardiac arrest victims until first responders arrives.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, only 10.6 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. If cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques are provided by bystanders and an automated external defibrillator (AED) device is used to treat victims before emergency personnel arrives, survival rates increase to 38 percent, according to the group.

Dr. Steven Zils, the Out-of-Hospital Medical Director and an emergency physician at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, has led the efforts to implement pre-arrival instructions in order to save more lives.

“The unfortunate reality is that many 911 dispatch centers across the country don’t provide pre-arrival instructions, and as we began to investigate this here in Ozaukee County, it became a clear opportunity to work with our centers and first responder counterparts to save more lives,” Zils said.

The Village of Grafton Police Department and the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department began a multi-week training program Oct. 5 to become proficient in the new EMD system. The training included classroom time and hands-on simulations to ensure they are fully prepared for providing pre-arrival instructions for all 911 calls.

The new system will be implemented Monday.

Discussions are underway to start similar training to EMS dispatch centers in Mequon and Cedarburg.

The program is part of Aurora Health Care’s  When Minutes Matter initiative, which is being led by the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton and the Aurora Health Care Foundation.

The $650,000 campaign includes the new EMD system, along with plans to purchase an EMS support vehicle that can travel throughout the county to provide immediate, physician-led, on-scene responses to critical situations.


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