Priority Dispatch teaches 911 call takers, among other things, how provide guidance over the phone about performing perform CPR on someone whose heart has stopped. The Salt Lake City-based company certifies dispatchers in emergency medical dispatch based on protocols developed by the nonprofit International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.

“What this does is it provides that higher level of service...that has the potential of saving lives down the road,” J. David Smith, the state’s new 911 center director, said Wednesday. 

Efforts to improve training for 911 call takers follows an investigation by The Public’s Radio and ProPublica that raised questions about whether the lack of training for the state’s 911 call takers is costing lives.

Priority Dispatch also will conduct periodic reviews of 911 calls to assess performance, Smith said, and provide data analysis for the state. The services, he said, are expected to cost between $150,000 and $175,000.

Rhode Island lawmakers approved a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1st that includes $220,000 earmarked for training 911 call takers. 

Smith said he hopes the additional training will help reinforce the public’s trust in the state’s 911 system.