July/August 2016 home page

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Our First Responders Don’t Miss a Beat
Sherryl L. Parks | Mayor

First responder luncheon. At the podium Collin Burke,
survivor of heart attack. Others are the AMR first-responders.
Photo Darren Pudgil.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Did you know that there 350,000 cardiac arrests in the U.S. annually and only 10% of these patients survive? Thirty people per hour die of a heart attack. One out of 10 patients die before they reach the hospital.

But living here in Del Mar your odds of surviving a cardiac arrest are much better than elsewhere. In fact, our emergency responders are right there at the top, competing with Seattle for having the best record of saving lives. American Medical Response (AMR), our ambulance providers, saved 22 lives in 2015: 17 from Encinitas, 2 in Solana Beach, 2 in Del Mar and 1 in Rancho Santa Fe. Our survivor rate was an astonishing 21% ( remember the national average is about 10%)!

Click on photo to enlarge.

Rancho Santa Fe Fire and AMR were honored on the April/May cover of the Emergency Medical Services magazine for their remarkable performance in 2015. AMR hosted a luncheon to celebrate their high survivor rate. They invited survivors and their families as well as the first responders who actually saved these people. First responders were meeting their patient for the first time since the incident.

A typical story was given by Collin Burke who was a 43-year-old, healthy male who was at his karate class in North County. He suffered a cardiac arrest while in that class and his instructor, who was trained in CPR, immediately began pumping the heart while others called 911. In 8 minutes the ambulance arrived to take Collin to Scripps Encinitas where he recovered fully and returned to work the next week!

Del Mar shares AMR services with Solana Beach, Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe under the oversight of the County of San Diego. Part of the mission of AMR now is to train lots of folks in CPR. It isn’t the old mouth-to-mouth but a much simpler method of pressing hard on the chest and never stopping until the ambulance arrives.

Only 32% of Americans today know CPR. Training for this simple CPR method, called Pulsepoint, occurs for the general public at street fairs, the workplace and non-profit meetings. AMR’s specific outreach program is now being implemented to teach all school-age kids. The state is trying to push through legislation to require school kids to learn CPR. Seattle is ahead of us because for years now their kids have learned CPR in their schools. You can also go onto YouTube for a short, 2-minute video to teach you the steps and give you the confidence to step in. This is known as “by-stander CPR.”

At the luncheon we were taught the saying “2-2-2 : 2 hands to immediately begin CPR; 2 feet to call 911 and 2 lives are changed forever- the survivor and you, the guy or gal who saved a life.

Congratulations to AMR and all our first responders. Right here in Del Mar we have the highest quality service….well right next to Seattle who we hope to beat next year!





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