Mountain View, CA - November 17, 2014 - A new effort launching today could help turn ordinary Mountain View residents into life-saving heroes. By installing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at high-risk locations throughout the city, the program aims to reduce deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.
"Sudden cardiac arrest is a killer, but it doesn't have to be," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Mountain View. "These 21st-century AED's are as close to foolproof as anything can be, and blanketing the community with them really can save lives."
With that in mind, Simitian proposed that the County fund a pilot project in Mountain View if local partners could be found to match the County's funding. "Folks in Mountain View really stepped up," said Simitian, "allowing us to more than double the impact we might have had.
The partners behind the effort are celebrating its launch with an event at Landels Elementary School at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, November 17th, where American Heart Association instructors and emergency personnel will be on hand to demonstrate the proper use of an AED – with a little help from the school's 4th- and 5th-graders.
The AED effort in Mountain View is being supported with grants from:
- the Santa Clara County EMS Trust Fund,
- the City of Mountain View,
- El Camino Hospital,
- the Mountain View Whisman School District, and
- the Mountain View Los Altos High School District.
The $116,000 in total funding will pay for about 48 AEDs, with the purchase and installation overseen by Palo Alto-based nonprofit Racing Hearts. The organization's mission is to increase the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest, which takes the lives of nearly 300,000 Americans every year.
"Sudden cardiac arrest has a survival rate of between five and eight percent now, and our goal is to increase that to 80 percent," said Racing Hearts founder Stephanie Martinson. AEDs placed in Palo Alto with a partnership between the city and Racing Hearts saw nine deployments in the first year after installation, likely representing multiple saved lives.
"We really appreciate the collaboration that is allowing us to bring increased heart safety to Mountain View this year," Martinson added.
Simitian hopes that the successful collaboration in Mountain View serves as a model for other communities in Santa Clara County. "My hope is that we can use the same model to expand to another city or two with every passing year, until the entire county is truly wall-to-wall with life-saving coverage."
"When an ambulance brings a patient to our emergency department, the best thing our doctors can hear is that help was given in the first ten minutes after the person collapsed," said Tomi Ryba, CEO of El Camino Hospital. "If someone performs hands-only CPR and follows the simple and safe instructions on an AED while waiting for the paramedics to arrive, we can vastly increase the chance a person will survive to go home to their family."
The project received not only funding but also significant cooperation from local government agencies. Most of the AEDs will be installed in city or school buildings.
"The City is excited to be part of this partnership to bring additional automatic external defibrillators to our residents," said Dan Rich, Mountain View City Manager. "Placing these life-saving devices around our community will enhance the chain of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest, greatly improving their chances of surviving and recovering."