WhidbeyHealth Wire 9

AED Training at Scatchet Head Provides Community with Vital Resource

June 7, 2023

A serene morning overlooking Cultus Bay. Sunny and breezy, with cloudless skies and framed by the faint outline of Mount Rainier in the distance. Idyllic and peaceful. For residents of Scatchet Head Community, these views come at an important cost – being the furthest away from potentially life-saving medical care.

With its proximity to the southernmost point of Whidbey Island and the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry crossing, the Scatchet Head community isn’t as accessible as you may think. As perhaps the most geographically isolated area on the island, providing the Scatchet Head community with vital resources to help support themselves until WhidbeyHealth paramedics can arrive is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome of a cardiac event. “Our community’s topography is such that we have several ‘mini’ neighborhoods that are isolated from one another,” explains Maria Reyes, Scatchet Head Community’s manager. “The average age of our community is 59 years. If someone is having a cardiac event, every minute counts. Our Emergency Response Committee partnered with WhidbeyHealth EMS’s Community AED program to install multiple AEDs (automated external defibrillators), improving the survivability of cardiac arrest patients in our community.”

June 3rd, marked the first step in making the deployment of these life-saving AEDs a reality with official community training. WhidbeyHealth Emergency Medical Services conducted robust sessions throughout the day, that included hands-on training with the defibrillator devices. EMS personnel set up multiple practice stations around the community center and provided instructions for conducting CPR and the application of the AED. “Making AEDs available to our remote communities greatly improves the chances of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest,” noted Lead Medic, Robert May. “Our job today is to provide this community with the resources and training they need to stabilize their friends and neighbors until medical services can arrive.”

The two new AEDs have been installed and are ready for use. Like other AEDs across our island communities, the two in Scatchet Head are fully accessible by residents twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, three hundred sixty-five days per year by being installed outdoors instead of behind a non-accessible locked door.

In addition to AED training, May and the WhidbeyHealth team reviewed some of WhidbeyHealth EMS’s other community-centered trainings with the group throughout the day. SAIL (Staying Active and Independent for Life), ACT (Antidote, CPR, Tourniquet), and CABS (Child and Babysitting Safety) resources were displayed, encouraging members to engage in our other “non-emergency” services.

Sudden cardiac arrest has been described as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Recognizing the signs that a person’s heart has stopped, providing chest compressions, using an automated external defibrillator are absolutely essential steps to saving a life. If defibrillated within the first minute of collapse, the victim’s chances for survival are close to ninety percent (90%), decreasing by 7-10% each minute that passes. WhidbeyHealth EMS and the WhidbeyHealth Foundation have partnered to acquire grants for these life-saving AED’s and their effective placement in our communities.

WhidbeyHealth Emergency Medical Services would like to thank the Scatchet Head Community for their partnership and engagement, as well as the WhidbeyHealth Foundation for their support in securing these life-saving devices.