Each year in the United States, about 365,000 people experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In north Georgia only about 8 percent of those who experience cardiac arrest outside of the hospital survive.
For perspective, Seattle’s out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate is more than 60 percent.
The North Georgia Heart Foundation is working to change the area’s low survival rate through a campaign called “Raise the 8”. The foundation will kick off the campaign at Turner, Wood & Smith on June 10. The Gainesville insurance firm is the first business to join Raise the 8.
“Approximately, four out of five cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital,” said Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FACC, FSCAI, founder of NGHF and a cardiologist with The Heart Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. “Effective hands-only CPR and the use of an AED immediately after cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.”
According to the Institute of Medicine, for each passing minute that aid is not rendered, the chances of the victim surviving drops by 10 percent.
Currently, there is no requirement in Georgia for schools, churches, community-based nonprofits, government buildings or businesses to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site.
“We are calling on businesses across North Georgia to participate in the Raise the 8 campaign,” said Daniel Thompson, North Georgia Heart Foundation executive director. “The campaign includes the purchase of an AED for your business, as well as training for you and your staff, in hands-only CPR and use of the AED.”
“If you have cardiac arrest and someone calls 911 without doing anything else – it could be close to 10 minutes before help arrives in some areas of our state,” Thompson said. “That means your chances of survival are greatly reduced, which is why having an AED nearby and knowing how to perform hands-only CPR is so important. This the only way we can save lives and improve survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest.”
The foundation is asking businesses to help make north Georgia the leader in out of hospital cardiac arrest survivability. Raise the 8 participation includes:
- An AED for your business, organization or home
- Staff training in hands-only CPR and use of the AED
- The potential to help save a life in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest
- A tax-deductible donation to support NGHF and a partial payment for another AED that can be placed in an emergency responder vehicle, church or place of public gathering.
For every 100 businesses that commit to this campaign, 10 extra AEDs would be placed into the community (nonprofits, churches, community centers, etc.), protecting hundreds of thousands of Georgians.
“Turner, Wood & Smith is proud to be the first ‘Raise the 8’ participant,” said Rob Fowler, executive vice president and partner at TWS and a board member of NGHF. “Our business is protecting employers, individuals and their families, so participating in the campaign is an easy way to invest in the safety of our employees while giving back to the Gainesville-Hall community.”
Marshall stressed the importance of boosting the percentage of the population that has the knowledge and the tools nearby to act.
“In order to become an area where we see the best survival rates in the country for heart attack, it will take entire communities being trained to react timely and effectively, which is a goal we aim to achieve,” he said.
Thompson recalled several recent “saves” thanks to hands-only CPR and AED use.
“If someone is trained in hands-only CPR and there is an AED close by, a victim of sudden cardiac arrest can be saved,” Thompson said. “Just ask Darryl Bagwell. Or Counte Cooley. Or an employee of American Proteins in Cuthbert. These are the ones who are with us today because someone knew what to do and how to act to save a life.”
For more on Raise the 8, click here.