OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill designed to enhance Oklahoma’s 911 services has been signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt.
House Bill 1590 would modernize the state’s 911 services and require telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) training for dispatchers in the state to assist callers until help arrives. It would also adjust the fee for devices capable of calling 911 from 75 cents to $1.25 a month.
“I don’t think many Oklahomans realize that our current 911 system is still using technology from 40 years ago. It’s even more challenging in rural counties that sometimes have to piggyback off one another to answer calls. HB 1590 would enable us to move to Next Generation 911 (NG911), by giving us the ability to create and maintain the infrastructure we need to move analog to digital technology. This will decrease response times, better identify caller locations and better coordinate responses,” said Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, Senate principal author of the bill.
HB 1590 is also known as the Haiden Fleming Memorial Act, named after a 22-year-old who died after a cardiac arrest incident.
Co-Author, Sen. Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah, suggested naming the bill after Haiden, a former student.
“Haiden had just finished having lunch with his family when he suffered a cardiac incident. They lived very close to a county line, which caused some difficulties with 911 and emergency responders who were in different coverage areas,” Stephens said. “His family wanted us to name this bill for Haiden to help draw attention to the need to modernize our 911 system.”
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. Of those victims, nine out of 10 will not survive.
AHA doctors say bystander CPR, when performed immediately and effectively, can double or triple the chances of survival.
“Oklahoma 911 will soon be able to receive calls using nationally standardized 21st century technology that will work with modern devices,” said Lance Terry, 911 coordinator for Oklahoma. “Improving technology will improve response times to emergencies in the state. T-CPR training will help mitigate the emergency before units arrive on scene.”
“The passage of House Bill 1590 is a monumental step in the right direction for a safer and healthier Oklahoma,” said Alisa Northcutt, government relations director for the American Heart Association in Oklahoma. “Not only does this legislation take Oklahoma’s 911 technology into the 21st century, but it also includes training requirements for 911 operators that can and will better equip call-takers throughout the state to provide emergency services more efficiently resulting in more lives being saved.”
The Sooner State’s 911 operators will be required to complete a T-CPR training course by July 1, 2024.
“We are thankful Oklahoma’s elected officials took a crucial step forward for our state’s public safety and health,” Northcutt added.