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Jessamine County E911 dispatcher saves woman's life by teaching CPR over the phone

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Apr 21, 2022

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX18) — One Jessamine County 911 dispatcher got a call she won't forget. She saved a life by talking a caller through CPR and now she's being recognized for her actions. She has a message for the community about the importance of knowing CPR.

23-year-old Makenzi Hill has been a Jessamine County E911 dispatcher for three years. Last month, she took a call from an assisted living home where a patient had gone into cardiac arrest. That’s when Hill talked the caller through CPR.

"They called and said that the lady wasn't breathing,” recalled Hill.

For the first time in her career, Hill saved a life. Now, Jessamine County EMS is recognizing her for it. She says the experience changed her perspective on the importance of CPR.

She explains, "I never really knew how important it was at first and we do training every year for it and I’ve listened to those but I’ve never actually experienced that and it's just nice to know I saved somebody."

Jessamine County dispatchers get thousands of calls a month and only about a dozen are for cardiac arrest. But this call was unique because Hill got to find out the outcome of this patient – most dispatchers do not.

Jessamine EMS’s Clinical Manager, Floyd Miracle, says "We try really hard when there is a cardiac arrest where a dispatcher provides telecommunicator CPR to provide them with the outcome and with the recognition."

Jessamine County E911 dispatchers train for four weeks once they're hired. They learn emergency medical dispatch and are telecommunicator CPR certified. The most important thing they can do is keep the caller calm and encourage them to keep going.

E911 Communications Officer and Quality Assurance Specialist, Megan Buchanan, shared, "Your first instinct is to panic, but we are able to keep you calm and talk you through the steps even if you know CPR sometimes it's hard to remember them in the moment.”

It is important to know the signs of cardiac arrest. If you think someone is going into cardiac arrest – first you should ask, ‘Is the person conscious?’ Then ask, ‘Are they breathing normally?’ These emergency responders say immediately call 911 and put the phone on speaker to free up your hands if you need to do CPR. Makenzi wants more people to know that they can be live savers too.

She says, "Learn how to do it or take a short class or anything because it's much easier for us to try to save somebody when someone's there that can help us."

Jessamine County EMS does provide CPR classes through the American Heart Association. They will also come out and teach CPR classes free of charge to any organization that wants to learn. If you visit their website, you can find out more about how you can sign up. Leaders say CPR is easy to learn and worth it to learn CPR.