Local emergency responders were honored Monday night in front of Aspen City Council for saving the lives of two people who suffered cardiac arrests in the past five months.
In the cases of Joy Eden and Hayden Spurrell, citizens took immediate action during their medical emergencies, paving the way for quick response from local emergency responders, according to a press release issued by the Aspen Police Department.
Members of the Aspen Pitkin County Communications Center, Aspen Ambulance District, Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the APD were recognized for their involvement in saving the lives of Eden and Spurrell.
Although police and EMTs are traditionally considered “first responders,” more often than not members of the general public are the first people on scene in a medical emergency.
Shirley Tipton and Shae Singer, co-owners of the Aspen Emporium & Flying Circus, learned this firsthand at their store on Feb. 22, when Eden collapsed in their presence.
“In an instant Shae dove over the counter to reach a phone and dial 911,” Tipton said in the release. “A lot like Superman.”
Added Singer: “Everyone in the store jumped right in and did what they could to help, including two employees with no previous training. That day, everyone was like Superman.”
Calling 911, beginning CPR and using an automated external defibrillat or (AED) are vital steps to saving a life in a cardiac emergency, according to emergency responders.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Red Cross are now teaching a simple technique called “hands-only” CPR. Hands-only CPR consists of simply pushing hard and fast in the middle of the chest. The AHA suggests using the beat of the well-known disco song “Staying Alive” to help responders keep a steady pace of approximately 100 compressions per minute.
The Aspen Ambulance District recently partnered with Pitkin County and area fire districts to debut the Save a Life Pitkin County program, whose mission is to raise local awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and the effectiveness of immediate intervention with CPR and an AED to save lives.
“The survival rate of cardiac arrest patients drops 10 percent each minute AED use is delayed,” said Jim Richardson, director of the Aspen Ambulance District.
The goal of the program is to give Pitkin County residents the training and power to save a life. Efforts thus far have focused on CPR/AED training and the installation of over 200 AEDs at locations throughout the county. They have automated voice instructions, very few steps and many safety features built in. For example, they will never shock a beating heart.
Following their experience in February, Tipton and Singer were spurred to action by their staff, who openly expressed that they would have felt more confident if they had proper training, according to the press release. With that, the “Joy Fund” was created to fund CPR/AED training for their employees. It is their goal to have one individual in the store at all times who is trained in these procedures.
Upon learning of the Joy Fund, the district has decided to offer free CPR and AED trainings this summer, the first being today at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., as well as June 20 at 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Each training will be held in the basement conference room at the Aspen Valley Hospital for 30 minutes. Additional dates, times and locations for trainings will be posted to www.savealifepitkincounty.com  and www.aspenpolice.com . These trainings will focus on hands-only CPR and proper use of AEDs.
If your business is interested in a personalized training for employees, call Richardson at (970)544-1571.