Letter: CPR in Sault Ste. Marie
Peter Chow for local2 sault ste. marie
May 2nd, 2012 at 8:50am
At a recent over-45 basketball tournament in the Sault, a player suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed. Fortunately another player knew basic CPR. The patient survived and was transferred to Toronto where he received an implanted automatic defibrillator.
In 1971 a physician in Seattle organised Medic ll, the public training arm of the Seattle Fire Dept. In the next 2 yrs this program trained 100,000 citizens in CPR; each following year 13,000 more people were trained. Today 800,000 out of a population of 1.3 million citizens in Seattle know CPR.
In 2008 in Seattle, bystanders initiated CPR in 58% of witnessed cardiac arrests with a survival rate of 49% of all witnessed arrests, about double the numbers nationally.
The other critical element in this success story is that 911 dispatchers received training to assertively give CPR instruction to the caller. Among all victims who received bystander CPR in Seattle, 60% is given by citizens who know CPR and 40% from citizens directed by 911 dispatchers.
The Seattle Medic ll program employs a number of strategies -
-online training videos
-free training, adult classes and adult refresher classes at fire departments
-fire fighters do teaching on their own time supported by public donations
-free training in schools
- students were then encouraged to teach other family members
- free training in use of AEDs – Automatic External Defibrillators
-inserts were mailed in utility bills
- ads in newspaper, TV and radio
- financial support is by charitable donation
The result is that Seattle has the best numbers, by far, for survival of patients suffering a witnessed cardiac arrest , year after year, in North America. The state of Arizona has begun to follow suit with a similar program.
Sault Ste Marie has begun some of the strategies, with CPR training in schools. Fire dept. dispatchers and all fire fighters have CPR training; one fire fighter is certified to be a CPR instructor . Ideally, training would be expanded to the general population and more AEDs would be made available , for example at sporting venues, golf courses, curling rinks, meeting halls.
By emulating Seattle, we could make Sault Ste Marie the safest place in Canada in which to drop dead.