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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Contact:
Steve Romines, Director of Thurston County Emergency Services Dept. at (360) 704-2780 or Romines@co.thurston.wa.us
Cindy Hambly, Thurston County Medic One at (360) 704-2780 or cindy_hambly@medic-one.thurston.wa.us
Cortny Martin, North Thurston Public Schools at (360) 412-4418 or cmartin@nthurston.k12.wa.us

How Do You Improve One of the Best Heart Attack Survival Rates?<br>Teach CPR at School
Thurston County Medic One and North Thurston schools team up for high school CPR lessons

It was no small feat for Thurston County Medic One leaders to raise the local heart attack survival rate from 22 percent just five years ago to 50 percent today. Now, Thurston County Medic One is teaming up with the North Thurston School District and other schools throughout the county to raise the survival rate even higher by teaching CPR to high school students.

"We have made incredible progress in just a few years, but in order to get that next bump in our survival rate and save more lives in Thurston County, we need the help of citizens," said Steve Romines, Director of Thurston County's Emergency Services Department. "That's why these new partnerships with local schools are so great. Now that CPR is a graduation requirement, it won't be long before our community will be filled with young people who can help save a life and start CPR the moment a heart attack strikes."

In just the first three months of 2014, Medic One staff and local fire departments have helped schools teach CPR to more than 1,000 Thurston County high school students.

"Our partnerships with Thurston County Emergency Services, Medic One and Lacey Fire District 3 have been an important and vibrant part of our success with the CPR program. The emergency services professionals co-teach with our health teachers to provide students hands-on training in CPR, plus they can talk about careers and job skills in emergency services," said Karen Eitreim, Director of Diversity, Languages, Arts & Discipline with North Thurston Public Schools. "Students today have a real commitment to serving others, and the CPR training enables them to help save lives today and in the future."

Thurston County's 50 percent survival rate for cardiac arrest is already one of the best in the country, just behind a 57 percent survival rate in Seattle-King County and a 58 percent survival rate in Rochester, Minn.
The national average survival rate is 15 percent.

Thurston County's rapid improvement in its heart attack survival rate began when Romines and Medic One Basic Life Support and Quality Improvement Manager Cindy Hambly attended one of the first "Resuscitation Academy" training courses developed by King County Medic One. After the training, Thurston County Medic One developed a CPR emphasis research project based on King County Medic One's best practices. Thurston County's Medic One staff then set out to train all EMS response agencies and personnel in the county on the latest CPR techniques.

"When we first started, we estimated that we'd be able to improve our survival rate to 30 or 35 percent. But it actually jumped all the way from 22 percent up to 47 percent, and now it's climbed even higher," Hambly said. "We are so pleased with the success of the program, not just because of the huge gains we've made, but because those numbers mean we're saving more lives today than ever before in Thurston County. That's something to celebrate."

Along with the new high school CPR training, Thurston County Medic One continues to offer CPR classes for all residents free of charge. Classes are held throughout the year at different locations throughout Thurston County. Visit Thurston County Medic One's CPR webpage at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/medic1/cpr.htm for more class information and to register for CPR training.

"It only takes three hours of your time to get the training you need to save a life with CPR," said Romines. "With the help of our citizens, we can save even more lives in Thurston County."


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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3