Big Screen CPR Awareness, 60 Years for Nassau’s Police-run Ambulance Bureau & a Southern Cali. AED Save

Issue 3 and Volume 39.


From Nov. 22, 2013, to Jan. 10, 2014, many Minnesota moviegoers watched something much more useful than product advertising as they waited for movies to start. A public service announcement produced by the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium (MRC), a program of the University of Minnesota, aired on the big screen in 14 movie theaters statewide as well as on television screens in theater lobbies. The message: Anyone can help save the life of an adult in sudden cardiac arrest.

“We chose theaters to provide a broad coverage of Minnesota,” explained MRC Program Manager Kim Harkins. “Between the 14 theaters, it was projected to have approximately half a million views.”

The 30-second spot informed moviegoers of three simple steps to take when an adult needs medical attention: “Call” 9-1-1 immediately; if the adult is neither responsive nor breathing, “compress” her or his chest at least two inches in depth and 100 times per minute; and, if able to locate an AED, follow its prompts and “clear” when instructed. Viewers were also encouraged to visit  to learn more about compressions-only CPR.

We give a big thumbs up to the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium for their innovative way of reaching out to the state’s citizens to inform them of their ability to save someone in sudden cardiac arrest.


Prior to World War II, many emergency calls in Nassau County, Long Island, were answered by the county’s police force. Back then, a citizen with an emergency called their local police, who then called police dispatch, who then called the county’s five hospitals with ambulances to find out which one could send an ambulance to the scene.

The need for a more coordinated ambulance service came after WWII as the Nassau County population boomed. So, in April 1953, Nassau’s police department launched the Emergency Ambulance Bureau (EAB), a division currently celebrating 60 years of service.

In the beginning, the bureau had eight ambulances staffed by employees trained only in first aid. In its first full year of operation, the staff responded to a little more than 2,300 calls. Today, the EAB’s ambulance fleet is 29 deep, and, in 2012, its staff of 155 EMS-trained employees responded to more than 63,000 calls.

“Originally, we were basically a first-aid box on wheels,” said retired EAB commander John Fitzwilliam to Long Island Newsday. “Now we’re an emergency room on wheels.”

We congratulate the Emergency Ambulance Bureau of the Nassau County Police Department on their 60th anniversary and wish them many more years of success.


San Diego Project Heart Beat (SDPHB), a program of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Rural/ Metro Ambulance, has been on a mission since 2001 to make AEDs as common around San Diego as fire extinguishers. They’ve partnered with many local groups and organizations to do so and, to date, have placed as many as 7,500 AEDs throughout the city and county.

On Sept. 14, 2013, one of those AEDs saved the life of a 63-year-old man who was surfing in a longboard competition in Pacific Beach when he became unconscious. San Diego City Lifeguards removed him from the water, initiated CPR, applied an AED and delivered a single shock to his system, successfully triggering return of spontaneous circulation.

The patient, who also happens to be the father of one of the seasonal lifeguards, was transported to Scripps La Jolla and has since made a full recovery. (He’s even back to surfing!) His life is just one of more than 100 lives credited to have been saved by AEDs overseen by SDPHB.

Thumbs up to San Diego Project Heart Beat and its program participants for their continued efforts to make AEDs publicly accessible throughout San Diego County, and to the San Diego City Lifeguards for using the AED to save the surfer’s life—SDPHB’s 116th save.