First responders save lives

Virginia

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax Fire and Rescue has been keeping track of what they call added life-years, which is when members of the community are able to walk out of the hospital after surviving a life threatening incident.

So far this year Fairfax County Fire and Rescue have saved over 71 residents who were considered clinically dead after suffering cardiac arrest, return to their normal lives. 

I spoke with Dr. Dan Avstreih, who tracks the outcomes of each save. 

“This is how a save is defined in EMS, is that you’re able to walk out of the hospital, you’re able to come back to the fire station and bring cookies, you’re able to more importantly, dance at your kid’s wedding” said Dr. Dan.

He says getting a pulse back is crucial, but that’s not enough, the goal is for the individual to be neurologically intact, a term meaning the ability to lead a normal life after an incident. 

Twice a week Dr. Dan gets to update the amount of estimated years they added onto a saved individual’s life. 

“So if you’re 26, and the average life expectancy is 76 is what the CDC calculated last year, that gives you another 50 years to spend with the people you love” Dr. Dan stated.

It can happen to anyone, anytime. Dr. Dan says they’ve seen many young adults suffer from cardiac arrests while exercising and they’ve been able to make a full recovery.

“This year we have had a tremendous number of people under 30 that have had cardiac arrests” said Dr. Dan.

According to the American Heart Association, only 46% of people who suffer cardiac arrest get help from immediate responders. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival, and you can be certified online. 

The AHA told me you can order a CPR Anytime Kit and learn CPR in about 20 minutes in the comfort of your own home. Although in many cases defibrillators or Narcan are necessary, there are many saves from an immediate responder performing CPR.

AHA CPR Anytime Kit

It only takes a couple hours to get certified and you could save a life.

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