Submitted by Orcas Island Fire and Rescue.
San Juan County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies reported a 100% survival rate following cardiac arrest from a heart rhythm that can be defibrillated in 2022, the highest survival rate in Washington State. The national survival rate following this type of cardiac arrest was 32% according to the data in the Cardiac Arrest Registry (CARES) Report.
The county’s survival rate for all cardiac arrests (those with shockable and non-shockable rhythm) is the second highest rate in Washington State per the CARES report. In 2022, San Juan County had a 28% survival rate following cardiac arrest; this is a significantly higher than the national average of 8% survival.
The Medical Director for San Juan County, Joshua Corsa, noted, “San Juan County’s cardiac arrest survival rates reflect the dedication our county has to continuing education, quality care, and outreach. I am extremely proud of San Juan County’s emergency services.” Interim Chief Holly vanSchaick of Orcas Island Fire & Rescue stated, “100% survival after cardiac arrest from a shockable rhythm is not something that happens by chance. It is a testament to the experience, education, and ongoing training of our paramedics, EMTs and firefighters, all of whom are integral to caring for our patients experiencing a cardiac arrest. This level of care is especially important for a community without immediate access to a hospital emergency department. Properly trained and experienced EMS personnel make the difference between life and death in these situations.”
One contributing factor to San Juan County’s high survival rates can be attributed to the county’s rigorous training standards for their EMTs and Paramedics. In addition to maintaining certifications like Basic Life Support CPR certification (all providers) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certifications (for paramedics), OIFR paramedics and EMTs participate in twice-monthly training sessions. All EMS providers are also required by Medical Director Joshua Corsa to meet specific training standards each calendar year.
Interim Chief vanSchaick also urges members of the public to sign up for CPR classes offered regularly by OIFR. “Immediate high-quality CPR performed by bystanders is key to the successful long-term outcomes like those reflected in the 2022 CARES data. Offering CPR classes is a key component to achieving positive outcomes following cardiac arrest.”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule CPR & First Aid training.