Increasing the Odds 

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can occur at any time without warning. Nationwide statistics indicate that an individual only has a six percent survival rate from a SCA occurrence; when first responders are involved, that percentage increases to 11 percent. The percentage could increase substantially if more bystanders were equipped with the knowledge to perform CPR right when the victim experiences SCA. Knowing this, County Service Area 17 (CSA 17) first response agencies – namely the Del Mar Fire Department, Encinitas Fire Department, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, and Solana Beach Fire Department – have engaged in a hands-only CPR campaign that follows the American Heart Association’s campaign.

“The goal is to empower the public, as immediate CPR can increase the survival chances by 25 percent,” said CSA 17 Emergency Services Coordinator Mary Murphy. “Way too often bystanders do not offer aid to a patient because they can’t remember all the steps to traditional CPR, are afraid of doing it incorrectly, or are wary of giving mouth-to-mouth breaths to a stranger. The goal of hands-only CPR is to simplify the process and encourage more people to attempt life-saving measures in emergency situations.”

CSA 17 agencies have been providing free CPR education to schools, churches, boys and girl scouts, and any group that has made a request to the departments. They also have a strong presence at local events and at the Santa Fe Fire Protection District’s open houses. The agencies were proud to announce that in 2014 they had a survival rate of 16 percent as verified by the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), a nationally recognized database dedicated to tracking SCA outcomes. So far this year the agencies have seen 36 percent of their CPR patients survive to be discharged home.

To schedule a hands-only CPR class contact Mary Murphy at 760-685-6402.