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Arizona Event Gathers Cardiac Arrest Survivors and Rescuers

The Rural/Metro Corp. and Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education celebrated Valentine's week with a special tribute on Feb. 12 to local survivors of sudden cardiac arrest and their pre-hospital rescue teams. The event called "celebrate survival" was at the Rural/Metro South-west Zone Headquarters at 708 W. Baseline Road.

It was a celebration of the impact of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, hands-only CPR training and innovative emergency medical services protocols.

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said 15 people in Arizona suffer from sudden cardiac arrest every day. "It's not just about saving lives. It's saving lives and the quality of life after the event," Mr. Humble said.

According to a press release by Rural/Metro Corp., the company is a national provider of emergency and non-emergency ambulance services and private fire protection services in 21 states. Rural/Metro Fire Department serves unincorporated areas of Pinal and Marciopa counties, including east Mesa and San Tan Valley, as well as other areas in the U.S., providing fire protection services on a pay-for basis to areas that do not have a local fire department.

"Our goal is to increase sudden cardiac arrest survival by supporting programs such as SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education) and implementing clinical initiatives that made it possible for our honorees to spend another Valentine's Day with the people they love," Michael P. DiMino, Rural/Metro's president and Chief Executive Officer, said.

The honorees Mr. DiMino was speaking about were five local cardiac arrest survivors. They were: Ed Blanchard of Mesa, Matt Collins of Goodyear, Michael Patten of the Glendale Fire Department, Richard Paxton of Peoria and Ron Porter of Mesa.

Each of the men were featured in a video that gave details as to what happened when they had their cardiac arrests. The survivors were introduced alongside their individual team of rescuers ranging from bystanders who did CPR to medical crews.

Some of the survivors got emotional when given the chance to speak, including 37-year-old Mr. Patten. He said, "Every day I wake up and see my girls and that's the greatest gift I can ever have. All they (people doing CPR) need to know is how to push on that chest and they can make a difference."

Mr. Porter had just moved to Mesa from Kansas the week of his cardiac arrest. During his speech he said, "Boy, was I glad I was in Arizona when I had my heart attack." He credits the training and crews in the state for saving his life.

Dr. Bentley Bobrow of ADHS Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System made sure to acknowledge the rescue crews in the room. He said not only did they save lives in the past but may do so again. "Due to hard work from a lot of people in this room you have a far better chance of surviving a cardiac arrest and going home," he said.

Hands-only CPR training was given to those who wanted it by Dr. Bobrow. According to recent research, hands-only CPR has been found to be the most effective way to save a life versus the old method of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Dr. Bobrow said.

"Celebrate survival" not only raised cardiac arrest awareness but thanked the heroes who saved lives. It also may have helped create more heroes by teaching them the important skill of hands-only CPR, Dr. Bobrow said.



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