Cumberland County will be the first in the state and sixth in the country to embark on an effort to increase survival rates of cardiac arrests through a new initiative offering access to equipment and better education.
The 4-Minute City initiative created by Avive Solutions will bring more than 300 of the company’s automated external defibrillators to the county to help residents start the process of saving the life of a neighbor or family member in cardiac arrest.
In a news conference in Lower Allen Township Wednesday, the initiative was unveiled with the help of collaborators from various EMS services, Cumberland County 911, Penn State Life Lion, UPMC Pinnacle Foundation and the Peyton Walker Foundation. Officials said the AEDs, which will be provided through funding and donor support, will be integrated with 911 centers to share data with public safety and health care providers to improve care, in addition to reducing the 4-minute wait until first responders are able to arrive at the scene.
The strategy is to deploy AEDs in known high-risk locations and potentially into the hands of trained residents within those areas.
Cumberland Goodwill EMS in Carlisle posted on Twitter that it is one of the steering committee members of the project and it plans to schedule events to reach out to the community and train residents.
According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, there were more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the country in 2020, nearly 90% of them fatal. Of those cardiac arrests, nearly 40% of them were witnessed by someone who may not have had a life-saving AED available.
“This initiative will have a direct impact on increasing the survival rates of cardiac arrest — sparing many families from a lifetime of heartache,” said Julie Walker, executive director of the Peyton Walker Foundation. “Deploying several hundred of these life-saving AEDs and educating our community on how to perform CPR can certainly help lead to lives being saved. I’m incredibly proud to be part of this initiative and am so thankful for all of the partners who are supporting this. ‘Four Minute City’ is now officially part of my daughter’s legacy.”
Peyton Walker, a Trinity High School graduate, was 19 when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and died in 2013.
“Our partnership with the Peyton Walker Foundation, aimed at engaging the community in efforts to increase overall sudden cardiac awareness and training, is something we take pride in and value tremendously,” UPMC Pinnacle Foundation major gift officer Matt Connors said. “Together, we will continue to work diligently towards making the Central Pa. community a much safer and enjoyable place to live.”
Avive’s AED is still in the review cycle of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has not yet been approved for sale in the United States, but it is being used through the 4-Minute City program. The Peyton Walker Foundation is spearheading efforts to fund the program in Cumberland County. The UPMC Pinnacle Foundation said a donation of $500 will sponsor an AED and one year of service.
For more information about the 4-Minute City Program, visit 4minutePa.org or email [email protected]. Those interested in sponsoring an AED in Cumberland County can contact Matthew Connors at UPMC at [email protected].