EMD Saves A Life
March 29, 2022
Rob Lippmann talks about his recent CPR saves solely in the interest of public service. It was good for the image of emergency dispatchers and, of course, the people he helped save by giving over-the-phone instructions.
That’s true; however, he doesn’t credit his part in the picture. He says it’s the luck of the draw who gets a call requiring PAIs. “I happened to be the one taking them. Anyone else here would have done the same,” said Lippmann, an emergency communications officer at Pasco County 911/Central Dispatch, New Port Richey, Florida (USA). “We have the instructions and if the patient’s viable, there’s a good chance the person will survive.”
A local news station picked up the story, and Lippmann was interviewed on air. He was called a hero, which is another compliment to which he takes exception. “It’s not only me, what I do,” he said. “Everyone here and in emergency communications across the world is a hero. We’re fortunate to have the tools that can save lives.”
The call the news station picked was one Lippmann answered on Nov. 3, 2021. Lippmann gave CPR instructions to a caller reporting her husband collapsed in the kitchen and was unable to answer her questions. She quickly notified her brother, who lives close and is certified in CPR. Although it took a few seconds for the brother to get into the rhythm of CPR, Lippmann calmly provided instructions and guided the counting of compressions. The man survived.
Jeff Hupp, of Zephyrhills, Florida, the man who had experienced sudden cardiac arrest personally reached out to thank Lippmann for saving his life. A meet and greet was arranged [Dec. 10, 2021], and the news crews showed up, Lippmann said. “It was a positive outcome and good press.” He said he was humbled to meet the Hupps and, true to his nature, credited the caller for strict attention to instructions.
Hupp, who was accompanied by several family members, saw the event less pragmatically. He was jubilant on his life saved and honored to meet Lippmann. “This Thanksgiving was one of the special ones,” Hupp said. “I had a lot to be thankful for. Not only Rob and the Pasco EMS, but everything.”1
Lippmann provided a second assist in early January by giving CPR instructions to aid in saving the captain of Special Operations, Tampa International Airport Police, following sudden cardiac arrest. Lippmann received a Pasco County 911/Central Dispatch Life Saving Award for both calls.
Lippmann has been on both sides of crisis and trauma. He started as a volunteer with a fire department at age 14, became an EMT years later, and in 2017 retired police chief (Mount Union Police Department, Mount Union, Pennsylvania, USA). His “Independence Day,” as he calls it, gave him choices, new direction. Lippmann moved close to family in Florida, and, after a year, discovered something he had already known. His life was public safety, and he really wasn’t ready to call it quits. He serves with the Florida Coast Guard auxiliary, and when he searched public safety openings, dispatch popped up.
“I dealt with 911 in police and had a good feeling about what they did,” Lippmann said. “I never knew the details until starting here [at Pasco County]. We are eyes and ears for the responders on the road.”
And, in the use of PAIs, he is the voice of calm for the people on the other side of the call.
Lippmann’s stoicism veils the importance he places on emergency dispatch. He is a strong proponent for changing the emergency dispatch public safety classification for a profession not all unlike policing.
“Same kind of stress without having to see or smell what’s happening at the scene,” he said. The difference, Lippmann said, is in the preparation. “We don’t have the time to prepare. We try to make the worst day of someone’s life better. We deal with it right away when we press the button.”
1” Zephyrhills Man Meets 911 Call Taker Who Helped Save His Life.” Pasco County Media Relations and Communications. 2021; Dec. 10. https://www.pascocountyfl.net/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8126 (accessed Jan. 15, 2022).