LAFD dispatchers are delayed in giving CPR prompts, study finds
Los Angeles Fire Department dispatchers waste critical time asking questions that delay giving CPR instructions to callers and sending rescuers to the scene, according to a city study obtained by The Times.
Cardiac arrests occur when the heart abruptly stops beating and are among the most time-sensitive emergencies. If CPR is not delivered as soon as possible, brain death can begin after just 4 minutes.
The study found that dispatchers often lag in coaxing callers to perform the life-saving procedure, stretching beyond the 4-minute benchmark.
The findings shed new light on an important but rarely measured performance standard at the nation's largest fire departments.
The LAFD has come under intense scrutiny after top fire officials admitted publishing statistics showing crews arrived at medical emergencies more quickly than they actually did.
The department released corrected reports, but those figures were described as unreliable by a data expert brought in by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Read the full Times story here.
-- Ben Welsh, Kate Linthicum and Robert J. Lopez
Graphic: Overview of CPR assistance provided by Los Angeles Fire Department dispatchers. Credit: Ray Enslow / Los Angeles Times