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Columbus Fire Department Kicks Off EMS Week with Community Challenge

Not knowing whether "Anne" had suffered a heart attack or been waylaid by a criminal, central Ohio families packed COSI Columbus yesterday to ask her if she was OK.

Anne was oblivious to the attention. She is, after all, a resuscitation dummy.

The Columbus Division of Fire's EMS and Safety Day kicked off EMS Week, a national awareness effort designed to tune communities into the challenges that their emergency medical-service workers face.

Above all, they'd like Columbus-area residents to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation by using learning aids such as "Resusci Anne."

"There's a great connection to early CPR and survival," said Dr. David Keseg, medical director for the Columbus Division of Fire, which was the host of the COSI event. "People who know CPR and use it before we get there provide a bridge of survival" to people who need medical help.

Keseg said Columbus' patient-survival rate would improve if more people knew CPR, but he noted that the city already has more people making it out of hospitals alive than many other communities do.

Columbus patients who received CPR from bystanders had a survival rate of 43 percent, 8 percentage points above the national average.

Nationally, 26 percent of people transported by EMS make it to a hospital alive, according to data from the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival, a partnership between the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University in Atlanta.

The data show that 32 percent of Columbus' EMS heart patients reached hospitals alive from late 2005 through 2012. Overall, 11 percent of heart patients left the hospital for home; that was about

1 percentage point higher than the national average.

"Communities with higher (patient) survival rates understand the need to collect data," said Dr. Bryan McNally, executive director of the registry and associate professor of emergency medicine at Emory University. "Collecting this type of information leads to more improvements."

Keseg said the Columbus Fire Division can break down the data it gets from the registry to show which neighborhoods have the most heart-related emergencies that receive the least help from bystanders. From there, the division has strategically organized CPR-training classes to reach certain areas.

Medical runs account for 80 to 90 percent of the fire division's runs, Keseg said.

Outside COSI, fire and EMS vehicles packed the front lawn, and a medical helicopter landed in front of the building.

Inside, kids fastened their helmets and rode bicycles to put best practices for safe bike-riding to use.

Some put on hospital gowns and received a mock trauma walk-through from medical staffers from Grant Medical Center.

Others resuscitated Anne.

Rex VanHorn of Columbus said he brought his two home-schooled sons, Xander, 7, and Joey, 5, to COSI especially for EMS and Safety Day.

"It's a good opportunity for them to practice," VanHorn said. "It makes my job as a parent much easier."



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