Orland Fire Seeking to Lower Heart Attack Deaths Through AEDs and CPR Training
Orland Fire Protection District supervisors are building a program to increase the number of Automated External Defibrillators throughout the community, and get more people trained in CPR to help sudden cardiac arrest victims.
Orland Fire Battalion Chief Raymond Kay and Lieutenant Mark Duke believe a few simple steps taken can help lower heart attack deaths in the area.
The Orland Fire supervisors are working to develop a program that will increase CPR instruction and also boost the number of available Automated External Defibrillators for situations where people suddenly go into cardiac arrest.
The program is called Orland Fire Community CARE, the acronym standing for Cardiac Arrest Rescue Enterprise.
“Enterprise in that acronym means it’s a community effort,” Kay said. “It’s not just one agency. Not just fire, or police. It’s going to be all of these people coming together.”
Kay said the need for this program is exemplified by a recent save at the Orland Park Sportsplex. A 32-year-old Orland Hills man dropped unconscious in the middle of a basketball game, due to cardiac arrest, and was saved when on-call Orland Fire Battalion Chief Nick Cinquepalmi and 17-year-old Sportsplex staff member Jake Pechukas performed CPR on him and used an in-house AED unit.
“That incident is exactly what this program is all about,” Kay said. “Other people were engaged and willing to act. They stepped up, got the AED, did compressions, shocked him, now he’s alive and doing well as far as I know.”
The first step for the CARE program is to connect with community organizations, such as the Orland Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as civic groups, religious organizations, individual businesses and any other entities interested and willing to help, Kay said.
Since first introducing the program at the Jan. 22, Orland Fire board of trustees meeting, the OPACC has signed on to help spread word of the effort through their networks. The Orland Fire Foundation, a non-profit associated with the district developed to raise funds for public education and safety programs, will be looking for applicable grants for the effort, Kay said.
The Colleen O’ Sullivan Foundation, the American Heart Association and staff from Northwestern Memorial Hospital also have partnered with Orland Fire Community CARE.
“What we’re doing here in Orland is leveraging existing efforts toward saving lives that face cardiac arrest and we’re connecting these different communities,” Kay said.
During the Jan. 22 meeting, Kay said AED units cost between $1,500 and $3,000, though refurbished ones cost around $500. The batteries and pads with the units have a shelf life of about three to five years, he said.
“It seemed like at one point in our lives, defibrillators were the number one thing talked about,” Orland Fire trustee Martin McGill said at the Jan. 22 meeting. “Calls to have one in each school, and in every public place were heard. It then took a crash. But there seems to be a bigger need than ever.”
In 2011, Orland Fire was called to 42 cardiac arrest incidents, 46 in 2012 and 10 so far in 2013, including the Sportsplex incident, Kay said.
Community CARE volunteers are looking to develop further clearance for dispatchers to walk people through basic CPR while they wait for paramedics to arrive, and another is to develop a better method for tracking a person’s recovery after he or she saved through CPR and AED, Kay said.
Plans for the future include equipping law enforcement, and possibly public works vehicles, with AED units. Discussions have begun with the Orland Park Police Department, Kay said.
CPR classes are now available through the district, but more educational possibilities are also being researched, Kay said.
Among goals for the entire effort are convincing more people not to be afraid to help others who are undergoing cardiac arrest. Language in Good Samaritan laws have recently changed, with help from the Colleen O’ Sullivan Foundation, to protect people who willingly assist people, Kay said.
People who have been educated in CPR, but are not professional firefighters or paramedics, don’t face the repercussions as before when assisting with CPR, Kay said.
“There is a difference between certified and trained,” Kay said. “There is no CPR certification anymore. People can still take a class, learn how it works, get some hands on practice. Then you are trained, and the law protects you if you are trained.”
Looking for more Orland Fire stories?
- Man Saved After Suddenly Collapsing During Basketball Game by Fire Chief and Lifeguard
- UPDATED: Who is Running For Village, Fire, School and Library Boards in April 2013?
- Orland Fire Passes New $29 Million Budget While Contract Negotiations Continue
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