Equipment, training may help heart attack victims |

Equipment, training may help heart attack victims

Scott N. Miller
Special to the Daily Local public safety officials are seeking funds to buy 36 defibrillators to put in police cars and public buidlings to treat people suffering cardiac arrest.

EAGLE COUNTY – Lyn Morgan isn’t in the gambling industry, but he and a lot of other people in the local emergency-service business say they are trying to improve the odds for victims of sudden cardiac arrest.Working with the Vail police volunteer program and more than 20 other local governments, groups and agencies, Morgan, the general manager of the ambulance district for the upper valley, helped put together a grant application to put 36 automated external defibrillators into local police cars and public buildings. The grant, from the Hillsdale Fund of Greensboro, N.C. will also pay for 10 mannequins for CPR and defibrillator training.The defibrillators are similar to the “paddles” seen in medical movies and TV shows used to re-start a person’s heart. These units, though, can be operated by virtually anyone. And, rather than the large units seen on TV, these devices are smaller than most laptop computers, and can be put just about anywhere.Once the equipment is delivered, the real work will start. Current plans include training just about anyone within grabbing distance how to use the defibrillators and perform CPR, including local high school students.”We want to have every graduating senior from local high schools trained in CPR and defibrillator use,” Vail Citizens Police Academy head Frank D’Allessio said. Training in CPR is part of the academy, a course that teaches civilians the finer points of police work.Between academy participants and graduating seniors, that’s more than 300 people per year.The initial training will be done by local paramedics. Much of that training will be teaching people how to teach CPR and using a defibrillator.”In Seattle, they used to put thousands of people in the old Kingdome for training,” said Fred Morrison, operations manager for the ambulance district. “They’ve been very successful.”And getting people trained is one of the best ways to save people whose hearts suddenly stop, Morgan said.There are four crucial elements to reviving cardiac arrest victims, he said: calling 911, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care.

The key word is “early.” After five minutes, a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival begin to drop dramatically. At 10 minutes, the odds of recovery are long, Morgan said.The knowledge and skills people take from training sessions is more than theoretical. Virtually all the students at Liberty High School in Issaquah, Wash. were trained in CPR when Battle Mountain High School Principal Mark Bullock worked there.”One day as the students were leaving school, a man in a car collapsed. A kid in a car behind him jumped out, gave him CPR and saved his life,” Bullock said. “This is a great opportunity we have here for training.”While the current grant will go a long way, Vail Police Commander Joe Russell said the work is really just beginning. “Libraries, churches, constructions sites, they could all use this equipment. We hope to apply for future grants, but there are no guarantees,” Russell said.==================By the numbers• 220,000 – Americans who die every year from sudden cardiac arrest• 5 – Percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims who survive

• 27 – Percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims who survived the year after automated external defibrillators were placed throughout Chicago O’Hare Airport• 36 – Automated external defibrillators purchased by a grant for local use• 22 – Local agencies involved in the grant program• 10 – Training mannequins• 0 – Taxpayer dollars used for the program======================

Thanks to…The Hillsdale Fund was established in North Carolina in 1963 by the family of Lunsford Richardson, founder of Vick Chemical Company, now Richardson-Vicks, Inc. Members of the Richardson family have established a total of seven philanthropic foundations that support education, social services, the arts, the environment, health care, religion, and media and communications.===========To learn moreCall Lyn Morgan at the Eagle County Health Services District, 926-5270.============Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

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