Leon County Continues to Have Best Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates Thanks to Community Involvement

Sponsored - It’s a normal day, maybe you are eating lunch at your favorite deli or walking your dog after a long day of work when suddenly, your heart starts to race on its own, your breath slows down, and you collapse without a moment’s notice. This is called a cardiac arrest, something approximately 356,000 individuals experience each year in the United States, 90% of which ultimately do not survive. The good news? If someone else can start administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately after a cardiac arrest, your chance of survival increases dramatically. In Leon County, due to extensive and continued emphasis on CPR training, community involvement, and exceptional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program your chance of survival here is way above the national average at 23 percent.

What is CPR and Why Does it Matter?

Data from the American Heart Association shows that only about 46% of people who experience cardiac arrest receive immediate help before professional help can arrive. However, if CPR is performed right away, the person’s chances of living through cardiac arrest is doubled, sometimes even tripled.

CPR involves using chest compressions to allow blood and oxygen to continue flowing through the body, increasing your chance of survival while waiting for emergency responders to arrive.

Leon County’s free CPR Anytime Kit provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to act quickly and effectively during someone else’s moment in crisis. Cardiac arrest situations can be traumatic and unnerving, but your ability to act without hesitation could save a life.

Leon County’s Commitment to Cardiac Survival

County paramedics rely on guidance from the American Heart Association which now emphasizes hands-only only CPR, or Compress-Airway-Breathing, and teach individuals how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Although not a certification course, the County has taught CPR techniques through its annual ‘Press the Chest’ event to over 11,000 people since it began in 2010.

Beyond Press the Chest, Leon County EMS furthers research in the field and focuses on teaching new mothers proper CPR training through a partnership with Capital Areas Healthy Start Coalition. EMS is a proud contributor to the Cardiac Arrest Registry for Everyone program which collects and analyzes EMS and hospital data to improve cardiac arrest outcomes. Last year, LCEMS was published by the National Association of EMS Physicians for research results on a study on 1728 cardiac arrests over a 6-year period which proved that Endotracheal Tube Intubation (ETT) used during cardiac arrest improved Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) when compared to Supraglottic Airway Devices (SGA).

Get Your Very Own CPR Anytime Training Kit For Free

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended large in-person gatherings, the County has implemented a virtual CPR training course for individuals to learn critical life-saving techniques at home. During last fall’s pilot program, the County distributed more than 300 CPR Anytime Training Kits and trained 500 individuals in CPR techniques in just two months. In addition, AEDs have been made readily available for the public, and over 700 citizens have received training in AED use with 1,206 machines registered for community use.

Learning the basics of CPR doesn’t require years of medical training. In fact, Leon County’s free CPR Anytime Training Kits teach CPR with simple instructions for the whole family. No matter what age you are, you can learn to the skills to save someone else’s life.

Visit Leon County’s website to order a kit, then take a trip to one of the Leon County Library locations for curbside pick-up. Then all that’s left to do is grab a family member and start training!

The CPR Anytime Training Kits include educational materials, an instructional DVD, and a CPR mannequin to practice chest compressions. After receiving a kit, a CPR specialist within Leon County EMS will host an online session to check your progress after a couple of weeks.

While watching a friend or family member experience cardiac arrest can be devastating, knowing how to confidently use CPR can be lifesaving. For more information and to get your CPR Anytime Kit today, visit www.LeonCountyFL.gov/CPRkit

Have any questions? Contact Major Sally Davis at davissal@leoncountyfl.gov or call (850)-606-2100.

Follow Leon County EMS on Facebook for more tips during American Heart Month.

Note: The CPR Anytime Training Kit is an educational tool and is not a certification course. Grant funding supporting this program is provided by the Florida Department of Health.