Excerpts from restart.com:

Starting next week, Rockford dispatchers will enforce a new no-no-go policy that could save more people from fatal cardiac arrest.

Those calling 911 will hear two questions: Is your loved one conscious? Is he or she breathing normally?

If the caller responds no to both, then it’s go. Instead of being asked if they’d like to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, callers will receive dispatch orders to get the person flat on the ground, bare their chest and put their hands between their nipples.

Rockford Fire Department’s 42 dispatchers will pace callers through about 100 compressions a minute to improve its best yet 46.2 percent out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate from 2015.

Chief Derek Bergsten and Dr. Jane Pearson, an emergency medicine physician from OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, announced the new no-no-go initiative today at the Rockford Fire Department headquarters. If all goes well, they’re hoping for a 50 percent out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate within a year.

“If you ask someone in a crisis situation, they’re generally going to say no,” Bergsten said. “In a crisis situation, you’re looking for somebody to give you direction. A lot of people might not know what CPR is at that time. They’re not thinking. They just saw their loved one unresponsive.”

He and Pearson, who trains dispatchers, say the national average out-of-hospital cardiac arrest rate is 20 to 30 percent. King County, which has Seattle in its boundaries, is thought to have the best survival rate of at least 62 percent, according to officials there.

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function, according to the American Heart Association. More than 420,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen nationwide every year.

Rockford Fire Department’s out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate was 40 percent in late 2014. Fire officials said they improved it by returning to the basics of chest compressions. The fire department’s emergency responders Firefighters at fire, crash and emergency scenes also are moving toward performing CPR for approximately 20 minutes — more than three times the previous 6-minute average — before transporting patients to hospitals.

“When we work together as a team, we have been able to achieve remarkable save rates,” said Pearson, noting that training, drilling and cooperation between dispatchers, EMTs and hospitals helps. “When we speak about a save, we’re not talking about filling up nursing homes with people that aren’t able to function. A save in this case is defined as someone who is fully functional.”

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