Arrhythmia Alliance-Working Together to Save Lives
BY TRUDIE LOBBAN



WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
How many times have you been called to a scene to find someone in cardiac arrest and although you are able to perform CPR you have to wait until EMS arrive with the defibrillator (AED) – all too often it is too late.

The devastating impact it has on not just the family and loved ones, but also on the officers at the scene – the helplessness of the situation, knowing an AED could help but not have that essential piece of lie saving equipment. Well that is about to change….and YOU can be part of that change! Arrhythmia Alliance – a non-profit (501©3) is partnering with police departments around the USA to equip all patrol vehicles….
Why?....

On July 14, 2014, Bluffton police were called to a family residence to resuscitate an eight-year-old boy after a drowning incident in his family's pool.  The boy’s mother had commenced CPR; Lt Joe Babkiewicz and two colleagues arrived and took over CPR, but it was a further six minutes before the paramedics arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED).  Sadly, this young boy could not be saved.

On hearing of this tragic event, Trudie Lobban MBE, CEO and Founder, Arrhythmia Alliance, heart rhythm charity, reached out to the boy’s parents to offer help and support. Trudie lost her husband, Charles, to sudden cardiac arrest on April 3, 2008, just a few years after setting up Arrhythmia Alliance to raise awareness of arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders), such as sudden cardiac arrest, and to help save lives.

And so, The Arrhythmia Alliance – Defibs Save Lives campaign  was launched with the aim of raising sufficient funds to place AEDs in all 31 Bluffton, SC police cars. To date, over 35 defibrillators have been placed in the locality, all 31 police vehicles are AED-equipped and two people have survived sudden cardiac arrest using these in-vehicle defibrillators, all due to the efforts of the Arrhythmia Alliance – Defibs Save Lives campaigns.

Bluffton Police Department vehicles equipped with life-saving AEDs
Arrhythmia Alliance together with the Bluffton Police Department, fundraised and engaged with the local community to raise funds to equip all 31 patrol vehicles with defibrillators. The time frame for this project was one year, however, in less than four months, all 31 defibrillators had been donated to BPD to equip their vehicles as well as the addition of paediatric pads to satisfy the event of a youth emergency.
Following the final placement of the 31 AEDs, Chief Joey Reynolds said, “The Bluffton Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of police services to the town of Bluffton and its visitors. With the addition of life saving equipment in our vehicles we will be better equipped in an emergency to ensure our officers can save lives.  The loss of this young boy affected all our officers as well as members from the community.  We are proud to honor his life by having AED’s in our vehicles and will continue to work with Arrhythmia Alliance to help save even more lives from sudden cardiac arrest.”

Bluffton Police Department awarded Arrhythmia Alliance with a Certificate of Recognition on January 13, 2016. And this partnership is now moving forward to place publicly accessible defibrillators around Bluffton and in the Low Country and to equip a further 20 police vehicles which have since been purchased since the end of Phase One.


Bluffton Police Department Partners with Arrhythmia Alliance and the local community to become the first HEARTSafe Community in South Carolina

Arrhythmia Alliance has extended its work in Bluffton, partnering with the Bluffton Township Fire District, Bluffton Police Department, and Beaufort County EMS to launch phase two of the Arrhythmia Alliance- Defibs Save Lives Campaign. Together, the goal is to become the first HEARTSafe community in South Carolina. To achieve this status, work includes training 1,600 community members in CPR and AED familiarization, establishing and funding a public access defibrillation program, and working toward a culture of excellence by continually self-evaluating to increase the survivability rate for the residents of Bluffton.

SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST – THE NATION’S BIGGEST KILLER
Sudden cardiac arrest can affect anyone of any age, at any time and without warning. For each minute that passes when someone has gone into sudden cardiac arrest their chance of survival decreases by 10%. The only chance to restore the erratic heart rhythm (arrhythmia) is the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator) to shock the heart back into normal rhythm.  CPR alone offers a 5-9% chance of survival, however, CPR and the use of an AED, can increase the chance of survival dramatically, to over 50%. It is estimated that 80% of sudden cardiac deaths could be avoided with prompt use of CPR and defibrillation with an AED.

Sudden cardiac death is the number one killer in the USA – with approximately 1000 US citizens dying every day – 80% of these deaths could be avoided with early intervention of CPR & use of an AED. Anyone can use an AED – you cannot harm anyone; however, you can save a life.

ARRHYTHMIA ALLIANCE, WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the aim of working together to improve the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for all those affected by arrhythmias. A-A is a coalition of charities, patient groups, patients, caregivers, medical groups and allied professionals. Although these groups remain independent, they work together under the A-A umbrella to promote timely and effective diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias. The organization is planning to extend its network even further through partnerships with emergency services, police departments and fire districts across the USA. The organization’s two main campaigns are ‘Defibs Save Lives’ and ‘Know Your Pulse’. Defibs Save Lives focuses on raising awareness and education on sudden cardiac arrest, the importance of an AED in helping to save a life and making access to this equipment as easy as possible. Know Your Pulse has been a long-standing campaign of A-A, to raise awareness of pulse rhythm and how an irregular heart rhythm can be so easily identified. In ten years, A-A has undertaken over one million manual pulse rhythm checks, in over 30 countries, reaching over 10 million people.

AND THE STORY CONTINUES…
Arrhythmia Alliance is now partnering with the Story County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa to raise funds to equip all 45 of their patrol vehicles with AEDs.

Story County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Barry Thomas states, “We are blessed to be working with Arrhythmia Alliance to help save lives in Story County.  It is our hope that the community will support this endeavor so that working together we can make the entire Story County community HeartSafe.”

JOIN US IN MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND HELP TO SAVE LIVES FROM SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST
Arrhythmia Alliance is proud to have worked so closely and successfully with police departments to place life-saving AEDs in their vehicles. Often, police are the first responders to someone who is suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. At that moment, time taken to get the heart back into normal sinus rhythm is critical, only the use of a defibrillator can do this – CPR alone will save less than 10% of victims, use of an AED can increase their survival dramatically to more than 50%.
The experience of losing someone to sudden cardiac arrest is an all too often occurrence for police officers trained to protect and save lives. Placing an AED in EVERY police vehicle across the USA will help to save countless lives.

Arrhythmia Alliance is calling on all members of the FBI NAA to join with us to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, demonstrate the value of an AED, and raise funds to place an AED in as many police vehicles as possible during 2017.

HOW YOU CAN PARTNER WITH ARRHYTHMIA ALLIANCE TO MAKE YOUR COMMUNITY HEARTSAFE

Call us on 843-415-1886, or contact us at info@heartrhythmalliance-us.org



To support the Defibs Save Lives Campaign  we have a range of educational resources on arrhythmias, sudden cardiac arrest and how to make your community HeartSafe, plus a range of fund-raising ideas and specific AED packages designed to meet the needs of your Community’s donations.

Arrhythmia Alliance holds frequent Community awareness events with its partners as a great way to kick-start local fund-raising campaigns – for more details call us now!


About The Author:
TRUDIE LOBBAN MBE, CEO AND FOUNDER, ARRHYTHMIA ALLIANCE
An expert patient representative and advocate who has led the establishment of over 40 heart rhythm organisations worldwide in the past 23 years; working collaboratively with key partners of all backgrounds and disciplines to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of both children and adults affected by cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Recognised as a world expert and Key Opinion Leader on all forms of arrhythmia including sudden cardiac arrest, atrial fibrillation and syncope; regularly asked by leading world bodies to speak / present at global conferences based on a respected reputation as a facilitator who fosters an approachable and positive focus on collaborative problem solving.  Uses personal experience to inform all activities and applies this passion and belief to embed the patient perspective and to ensure the patient is viewed as a unique individual by the medical profession. Demonstrates a proven record of successfully influencing public health policy, increasing awareness of cardiac conditions and their symptoms, and of tangibly impacting the lives of millions of sufferers worldwide.
 
Trudie was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to healthcare in 2009.


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