Nearly three months ago, 16-year-old Elise Fellner of Forest Hill was trying out for volleyball at a school in Kingsville when she collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Her coach and the athletic director immediately began CPR; BCoFD EMS crews followed up with defibrillation using an automatic external defibrillator. Elise has recovered fully.
Today, Elise and her family joined Baltimore County Fire, EMS and elected officials at the Parkville Fire Station to raise awareness of the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of immediate use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in giving victims a chance at survival.
“It’s incredibly rewarding and moving to see people who are here today because someone cared enough to learn how to provide CPR and use an AED,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Other local survivors of cardiac arrest also shared their stories at today’s event: Richard Beverage, 61, of Parkville; Chris Malczewski, 32, of Parkville; Bob Pollack, 53, of Middle River; Ann January, 44, of Parkville; and Kim Barranco, 48, of Towson.
“Hands Only CPR”
Today’s event was an opportunity to promote BCoFD’s “hands only” CPR program, “Lend a Hand, Save a Life.”
Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It consists of two easy steps:
1. Call 911.
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
BCoFD’s online resource, www.baltimorecountymd.gov/handsonlycpr, provides guidelines and training opportunities around the county.
The use of CPR and AEDs is absolutely essential to preventing deaths from sudden cardiac arrest – the leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, 350,000 Americans succumb to this condition.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) consists of rescue breathing and chest compressions delivered to cardiac arrest victims. When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops pumping blood. CPR can support a small amount of blood flow to the heart and brain to buy time until normal heart function is restored.
Defibrillation sends an electrical current through an erratic heart to restore the normal heart rhythm. The sooner a sudden cardiac arrest patient is defibrillated, the greater the chances of survival.
The Baltimore County Fire-Rescue Academy offers monthly CPR classes, open to the public; a brochure with the 2014 schedule is available at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/fire/academy. In addition, many volunteer fire companies offer CPR training, as does the American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org.