It seems we here in Washington have more than the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks to be proud of. From a recent study, King County scored the highest survivability rate for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in the nation – 52% in 2012 – while the rest of the country only rated around ten percent.
The ratings have been consistently similar since the 1970s, which has made Seattle "the best place to have a heart attack". One reason for this is Seattle's concerted and widespread effort to train civilians in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and put automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in each school. Its "Heart of Seattle Schools" program provides mandatory CPR training for students three times between their 6th and12th grades, resulting in 18,000 graduates each year.
Additionally, trainers like Tim Perciful of the King County Fire Department certify 10,000 to 12,000 careerists and volunteers each year in five levels of CPR. Through the Washington Kayak Club, Tim Perciful is also providing First Aid/CPR training to our trip leaders and paddlers. I attended his class on Feb 9, 2014 and found that much was different from when I was last trained while in the army. Tim said this training is dynamic and the methods change about every five years; hence the requirement to recertify every two years.
Shanna Gachen under Tim's tutelage performing CPR on a training manikin. Note the attached training AED.