Alaska is a remarkable land with far distances and a challenged network of emergency response. And yet Alaska is determined to build emergency response systems that can effectively treat cardiac arrest. The challenge requires a mix of innovation and practical approaches. Under the guidance of Dr. Mike Levy, Alaska HeartRescue has worked tirelessly to engage the diverse communities of Alaska to establish a statewide registry to capture care and outcome for cardiac arrest. With this infrastructure, Alaska has deployed a range of programs contingent upon community logistics and resources to improve resuscitation care.
- Rural and wilderness challenges – Alaska is characterized primarily by remote wilderness. In these settings, resuscitation is exceptionally challenged and yet a common goal of stakeholders. As such, Alaska stakeholders have leveraged HeartRescue resources to provide advanced CPR training to communities of the Aleutian Islands. Following her Resuscitation Academy experience, Dr. Danita Koehler returned to the Aleutians where she designed a program to train the Aleutian Island communities to respond to cardiac arrest. The initial experience served as the basis to scale the training and education through a federal service grant.
- Cutting-edge technology – Anchorage is the urban metropolis of Alaska and as such has many of the conventional opportunities of the lower 48 to achieve resuscitation. Indeed Anchorage Fire Department has implemented a number of programs in an effort to advance resuscitation. Of note, they have implemented a streamlined telephone CPR program that has enabled an important increase in early arrest identification and bystander CPR. They have also evaluated and refined the role of mechanical CPR, providing an instructive example of how this technology might be deployed in a high-performing Ems system.