Employees Are Key Players in Improving Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

Way back in 1974 the TV show “60 Minutes” declared Seattle “The Best Place to Have a Heart Attack.” That remains true even to this day. The Seattle & King County Emergency Services System, MEDIC ONE, consistently achieves survival rates for witnessed out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest higher than anywhere else in the world. In 2013 the rate was 57% compared to an overall national survival rate of approximately 10% across the U.S.

“One of the many reasons behind this success is that we’ve taken a collaborative and comprehensive approach to responding to cardiac emergencies,” says Jim Fogarty, Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services Division Director. The “Chain of Survival” displays a simplified picture of many of the links in our system, each of which must be coordinated with every other link. Note that the first three links involve YOU.

CPRThe first links support the entire response, and depend on you: the bystander, the family member, the co-worker. You must quickly recognize an emergency and call 911 to set MEDIC ONE in motion. Dispatchers send emergency responders on their way while they guide you, the rescuer, in providing care (including Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR) to the patient. Starting chest compressions immediately (seconds count!) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) quickly if one is available can mean the difference between a positive outcome and a negative outcome (brain damage or death) for many patients. Chest compressions keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain. There is enough oxygen in the bloodstream for the 4 -6 minutes that it will take EMS to arrive at most locations in the Seattle & King County area, if you start chest compressions immediately to circulate that oxygen. If available, using an AED within the first 3 minutes greatly increases the chance for survival.

As public employees we should be prepared to take action in an emergency situation, but think about this: It is statistically more likely that you will use your CPR skills on a family member, friend, or other loved one – than on a stranger. We encourage you to be trained in CPR and AED use as a public employee, but by taking free CPR/AED classes offered by King County (a $50+ value in the community) you are also learning skills that can save your family and loved ones.

For more information take a class! Classes are listed in the monthly Training and Organizational Development newsletter e-mailed to King County employees or contact Anne Curtis at anne.curtis@kingcounty.gov.

Sign up for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)/Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Training:

Basic and Refresher CPR/AED Training

Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services Division offers free CPR/AED training to King County employees. All classes are American Heart Association Heartsaver classes. Take a three-hour Basic class or, if you’ve taken CPR training within the past two years, a two-hour Refresher class. Classes are held in the first floor conference rooms in the Chinook Building, 401 Fifth Avenue. Pre-registration is required. To register for a class send an email to Andrew Burns. Please note that these classes do not meet the requirements for Health Care Provider BLS CPR/AED training.

Basic CPR/AED Training

  • Tuesday, August 5, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 126
  • Monday, September 29, 9 a.m. – noon, Chinook Conference Room 126
  • Thursday, October 30, 9 a.m. – noon, Chinook Conference Room 126      

Refresher CPR/AED Training (For those who have taken a CPR/AED training within the past 2 years.)

  • Wednesday, May 21, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 115       
  • Thursday, June 26, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 115
  • Tuesday, August 5, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 126
  • Monday, September 29, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 126
  • Thursday, October 30, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Chinook Conference Room 126       

If your worksite has at least 12 – 15 people who need training, we can come to you. Contact Anne Curtis to schedule CPR/AED training at your site. Public Health Center managers can schedule Health Care Provider BLS CPR/AED training for Public Health staff through Anne Curtis.