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Celebrating cardiac arrest survival during EMS week

EMS Week in Johnson County celebrates the five links in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest victims.

Chain of survival for EMS Week


Link 1: Early recognition of cardiac arrest by the individuals witnessing the event and the dispatchers answering their 9-1-1 call for help.

An important partner in the first link is Johnson County Emergency Communications which manages countywide emergency communications systems and dispatch services. Operations is responsible for the processing of emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance received on E911 (Enhanced 911) and 10-digit phone lines.  Operations dispatches FIRE and EMS in Johnson County and EMS in Miami County. These emergency medical dispatchers start the chain of survival when they receive an emergency call from a bystander or witness.

Link 2: Witnesses of a cardiac event who perform CPR

The second link is high quality chest compressions, performed by the bystander who witnessed the event while being coached by the dispatcher. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • For every minute a victim doesn’t receive CPR, their chance of survival drops by 10 percent. 
  • Initiatives like Johnson County HeartSafe and dispatch assisted CPR mean victims of cardiac arrest in public locations and residences in Johnson County now receive CPR from family, friends, even strangers 67 percent of the time, an increase of 22 percent over 2015.   

Link 3: On-scene defibrillation performed by a bystander with a public access Automated External Defibrillator

The third link requires early defibrillation with a public access Automated External Defibrillator (AED). In Johnson County, cardiac arrest victims only benefit from the use of an AED 3 percent of the time. The low number may be because and AED is not available on site. Have you ever noticed if there is an AED available at your workplace?  Your church?  Your child’s school?  Your gym?  Because the state requires AEDs to be registered with the Mid-America Regional Council, we are able to show where AEDs are placed throughout Johnson County. Map of AED's in Johnson County

For more information on getting adding an AED to these critical locations, visit http://marc.org/Emergency-Services-9-1-1/MARCER/Activities/AED-Registry

Link 4: Early advance life support care provided by first responders (EMTs and paramedics) who arrive on scene.

Early advance life support care the county provides via dual paramedic ambulance response is the fourth link. MED-ACT ambulances respond alongside each community’s fire department and together emergency medical responders continue life saving care to ensure patients arrive at the hospital with the best chance of survival. Approximately 50 percent of cardiac arrest patients are transported to the hospital for continuing advance life support care. 

Link 5: 

The final link in the chain of survival involves our partners in the hospitals.  Medical professionals in the Emergency Department, Cath Lab, and Intensive Care Unit all work to help survivors regain function and capabilities to return to their daily routines.  

Because of the strength of each link in this chain, 43 percent of cardiac arrest victims in Johnson County in 2015 survived and were able to return to their lives, their families, and their work. This survival rate averages only 33 percent nationwide.




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