A number of people in the Fox Cities are alive today thanks to the use of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs – now being used in police and fire squads) and a multi-media HeartStart campaign encouraging people to call 9-1-1 in the event of a life-threatening emergency!
With AEDs in more emergency response vehicles throughout the Fox Valley, police and firefighters no longer need to wait for paramedics to arrive on the scene to shock a heart back into rhythm. The 9-1-1 campaign reminds people to call for professional help immediately even before applying CPR. The sooner the call is made, the quicker the AED arrives and precious lives can be saved.
Since the start of the HeartStart campaign in January, 109 people were reached while their heart was still in a shockable rhythm. In 77% of those cases the police or fire units arrived on the scene before paramedics and were able to defibrillate the patient immediately. Of the 109 sudden death victims, 27 were discharged home in good condition.
The HeartStart campaign is funded by ThedaCare, Affinity Health System, Gold Cross Ambulance Service, United Way Fox Cities, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, local emergency professionals, and Calumet, Winnebago and Outagamie counties.
First Responder Defibrillation
In 1998, Medtronic/Physio Control granted Gold Cross $60,000 to provide local first responder with AEDs. Because of this program and the support of the communities, today the Fox Cities have the most AEDs per capita in the state. Gold Cross provides medical direction, free training and quality assurance for the first responder AED program.
This program is a proactive approach to preparing for a disaster. Disaster preparedness entails the following: determining all the resources that are available throughout the counties, developing a contact list of key people, agreeing to a command structure and communicating the structure to those involved.
In 2001, Gold Cross purchased a disaster trailer to store extra supplies such as disposable backboards. This trailer will provide the first responders and paramedics with much needed resources during very difficult times.
File of Life
Winnebago, Outagamie, Calumet, and Waupaca counties have asked Gold Cross to join in their efforts of starting and promoting the File of Life program. The File of Life is a medical card that is posted on your refrigerator and kept in your wallet. Important medical information could save your life. The File of Life allows seniors and special needs patients to live independently.