Orland Fire Prevent District announces new program to reduce Sudden Cardiac Arrest deaths
The Orland Fire Protection District is launching a new program called Community CARE (Cardiac Arrest Rescue Enterprise) to increase survival rates for cardiac arrest victims by providing additional CPR training and putting Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in the hands of the public.
The new program will engage the public’s assistance by making AEDs more accessible for members of the public at locations including restaurants and businesses, and also make them available to local police.
OFPD Chief Ken Brucki said the program will be supervised by Battalion Chief Raymond Kay, who has already identified grant funding to help with CPR training and to help underwrite the purchase of equipment. Battalion Chief Kay will also identify partners in the public who wish to help save lives by learning CPR and will host the AEDs.
“When we receive an emergency 911 call for a Cardiac incident, we immediately dispatch the closest unit by GPS location and another vehicle for support and assistance, one Ambulance and one fire suppression vehicle, both of which are equipped with Paramedics and Advanced life Support equipment. And while this happens very quickly and in a matter of one or two minutes, each passing second reduces the patient’s chances of survival,” Brucki said.
“What Community CARE will do is provide CPR and AED training that can be used at the scene by members of the public to provide emergency support while the ambulance and professional care is on its way giving the victim an extra few seconds that increase the patient’s chances of survival.”
Kay, who has been working on the program for the past year, said he will begin a program to educate the public about how Community CARE can work. He said that the OFPD emergency teams responded to 42 cardiac arrests in 2011 and 46 cardiac arrests in 2012.
“The concept is simple. When someone experiences Sudden Cardiac Arrest at a public location, we want an AED unit to be available to help support immediate care until the emergency fire team arrives on the scene,” Kay said.
“Every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest victim looses a 10% chance to survive. Those additional seconds and minutes of life support given to the patient while waiting for the ambulance to arrive will dramatically increase the victim’s survival.”
Kay said that the district does not have quality data on how many of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest patients returned to a normal life because all are taken to a hospital where medical treatment continues. The Community CARE program helps to acquire this data which is instrumental in the constant desire to improve service.
“We know that more than 61 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, resulting in approximately 1 million deaths per year and one-third of these deaths are due to cardiac arrest, the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function. Survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are only 1 to 5 percent,” Kay said.
“Most often cardiac arrest is due to chaotic beating of the heart (ventricular fibrillation), which can be restored to a normal rhythm if treated early with electric shock or ‘defibrillation’. Early defibrillation is a key component in sudden cardiac arrest patient survival. Public access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) is imperative.”
Kay said that performing CPR and using the AEDs during those first few moments of a cardiac arrest can result in a survival rate of more than 90 percent.
“The average age of victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is 65. In 2010 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.1% of the Orland Park community was age 65 or older,” Kay said.
“Over the next 16 years it is estimated that the 65 and older population will grow to over 30% of the population in Orland Park.”
Kay said he estimates the costs of AED units to be between $1,500 to $3,000 dollars.
“I want to first speak with business groups and community organizations and the police in Orland Park and Orland Hills and then get their support.” Kay said.
Chief Kay will make a detailed presentation at tomorrow’s (Tuesday Jan. 22) OFPD board meeting.
“The Orland Fire Protection District will always continue to explore ways to improve the services and public safety we provide to the residents,” Brucki said. “We can think of no better partner than members of the public to join us to help ensure a safe life for all of our residents.”