The City of Gilroy Fire Department is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) department serving over 50,000 citizens of Gilroy and all who pass through our city every day. On average, the fire department responds to approximately 5,600 calls a year, with that number increasing every year. Approximately 80% of our 9-1-1 response calls are medical aids, meaning someone is having a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment. Of that percentage, the fire department responds to between 35-40 cardiac arrest calls annually where Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is needed prior to our arrival. In 2015 only one person received pre-arrival CPR from bystanders or family.
Our mission is to protect the lives, property and environment of the Gilroy community. We employ the latest fire, rescue, EMS and prevention technologies in order to provide Gilroy citizens and those visiting our community exceptional emergency response and service. Our core services include structural firefighting, emergency medical services, wildland firefighting, vehicle extrication, fire prevention, public education, community outreach and hazardous materials response. Our motto is “First in Service to the Community”. With that, we want to teach as many of our community members CPR so they can assist a person in cardiac arrest with immediate lifesaving treatment until the Fire Department arrives on scene.
Why Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?
Imagine you’re sitting at home, spending a relaxing evening watching TV with your family. Suddenly, one of your family members stops breathing and falls to the floor, unresponsive. Would you know what to do?
For both men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. However, despite the prevalence of heart disease, only about one-third of Americans have training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) techniques.
Every year, more than 1.25 million Americans will experience a coronary attack and go into cardiac arrest. A majority of these coronary attacks do not occur inside of a hospital where CPR certified professionals work. An estimated 326,000 people die each year of cardiac arrest, in the out of hospital environment, due to not receiving the immediate treatment needed to survive the cardiac event.
But here’s the good news: When performed immediately after a cardiac event, CPR and other life support measures double or even triple the victim’s survival rate. And, with four of five cardiac events taking place in the home, statistics show the life you save will most likely be that of a loved one. Learning how to effectively perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) doesn’t just give you the confidence and skills you need in a medical emergency, these essential tools can also save the life of someone you love.
The Gilroy Fire Department responds to over 4,000 medical emergencies each year. Some require immediate treatment provided by the fire department and some emergencies need further evaluation by a physician. In the case of cardiac arrest, the fire department is equipped with advanced life support tools that work to treat and reverse the causes of cardiac arrest. Although the tools we use are important to the outcome of the patient and to the return of spontaneous circulation or a pulse, early recognition of cardiac arrest and early CPR are the key to a patient’s survival.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other vital organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. Cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it’s treated within a few minutes. CPR is an emergency procedure performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest. Here is what you should do if you are with or near a person who goes into cardiac arrest: First, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical services. Second, if one is available, get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), turn it on and follow the directions the AED gives you. You will continue to follow the AED’s directions until emergency medical services arrive and take over for you. If there isn’t an AED available, begin manual CPR immediately and continue until emergency medical services arrive. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 9-1-1 and finds an AED.
Our goal is to train 33% of the Gilroy population in CPR, have CPR started on 50% of the cardiac arrest patients prior to our arrival and to increase the survival rate of cardiac arrest by 33%. With your help these goals can be accomplished. Be the first line of offense in the cardiac arrest battle and get trained today.