Let’s break things down – What is cardiac arrest?
A generalized definition – Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and becomes irregular. The heart beats fast and out of normal rhythm, which stops the blood from circulating throughout the body. Within a few minutes, blood flow to the brain is reduced to the most auoint that a person loses consciousness. Death quickly follows unless someone can intervene with CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
CPR keeps enough oxygen in the lungs and gets it to the brain until normal heart rhythm is restored with an electric shock to the chest through defibrillation.
Now we can discuss national statistics:
Cardiac Arrest affects approximately 1,000 people a day across the United States and on average will claim 90 percent of its victims. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation has done statistical research and found that it is the leading cause of death for people over the age of 40.
What has CKFR done to help improve these statistics within the community?
As a Medic for Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, I have seen progressive changes within Kitsap County and CKFR.
- We were quick to adopt High Density CPR and embrace the changes set forth by the American Heart Association.
- We are constantly striving to limit interruptions in CPR on cardiac arrest patients through training and equipment upgrades.
- The county has purchased CPR training mannequins that measures the effectiveness of CPR and provides a printed evaluation. All CKFR EMS members participated in this training and are re-evaluated annually.
- We instituted activation of our Duty Chief on all cardiac arrest calls, which provides additional manpower on scene to provide High Density CPR.
How can our Kitsap communities help with cardiac arrests?
I am proud to live in this community and would not hesitate to help someone in their time of need. I think many of us feel this way and embrace the opportunity to help a fellow community member.
The community member that discovers or helps out with the cardiac arrest is the most important link in the chain of events that can influence the outcome of the victim.
There is a smartphone app available that CKFR and the Medic One Foundation are supporting because of the drastic cardiac arrest improvements it could provide to our community. The smartphone app is called PulsePoint.
PulsePoint Respond aims to connect people struck by sudden cardiac arrest with the people who can help during the response time of emer- gency medical service (EMS) workers. (Keep in mind the average re- sponse time for emergency medical workers is seven minutes from the time units are dispatched.
The app, which is available free on iTunes and Google Play, is integrated into the 911 procedures of participating cities. When emergency dispatchers receive a call regarding a suspected sudden cardiac ar- rest, they activate an alert to PulsePoint app users at the same time they dispatch local EMS.
The alert notifies app users within a quarter-mile only when an emergency is in a public place. The app uses a smart phone’s geolocation service to direct you to the sick person’s location and the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock to restore a normal rhythm.
Unfortunately the integration of this application does have an initial cost and maintenance cost, but is well worth the cost and efforts.
Central Kitsap’s Medic One Foundation has offered to be the collection point for donations towards the start-up of PulsePoint within Kitsap County.
To contribute, please call 360-447-3550, or visit the Medic One Foundation page of our website at www.ckfr.org. Please indicate that your donation is for the start-up of PulsePoint.
We as a community team can make a difference in the outcome of people’s lives when they are in a time of need!