Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

Cardiac Ready Communities

In time sensitive emergencies such as a cardiac arrest, every second, every minute that passes without immediate intervention such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and/or the placement of an automated external defibrillator (AED) can mean the difference between life and death. In rural communities, the cardiac arrest survival rate is lower than in urban areas. In South Dakota (SD), ambulance response can range from a few seconds to well over 30 minutes in the most remote parts of the state, which often prevents even the best emergency service systems from arriving in time to help cardiac arrest patients.

There are several important factors affecting rural survival rates such as whether there is a bystander trained in CPR who witnessed the event. An untrained bystander may be hesitant to begin CPR and/or deliver poor quality CPR. A trained 911 dispatcher can talk a caller through the steps of CPR, but most rural dispatchers lack the training to do so. Availability of AEDs in most rural areas is low. Some first responders carry AEDs; however, by the time they arrive on scene it may be too late to save the patient.

The focus of the Cardiac Ready Communities (CRC) Program is to educate, equip, and empower local community members to be better prepared and more confident in helping a patient experiencing a cardiac event prior to the ambulance arriving. This collaborative response to a public cardiac event is referred to as a System-of-Care, where laypersons, dispatchers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), police, fire, and hospital staff all work together for the betterment of the community and its members.

The CRC Program runs through a partnership of the SD Department of Health (DOH) and the Cardiovascular Collaborative, a voluntary group of SD medical and public health professionals working to improve the quality of life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke. The CRC Program promotes the American Heart Association (AHA) Chain of Survival, which can improve the chances of survival and recovery for victims of cardiac events.

Please view this short webinar to assist your community in walking through the steps to Cardiac Ready Community designation.

Chain of Survival

  • Early recognition of cardiac emergency and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early CPR with an emphasis on high-quality chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Effective basic and advanced emergency medical services (EMS)
  • Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

The CRC Program operates on the principle that better outcomes from a cardiac event are possible when every community member knows CPR and community resources are available (such as AEDs) to assist in resuscitative efforts before ambulance services arrive. The Chain of Survival in rural areas depends on community-wide involvement. Each citizen is extremely important in saving a life.


CRC Program Guide
Community Based Blood Pressure (BP) Screening Algorithm
Please view this short webinar to assist your community in walking through the steps to Cardiac Ready Community designation

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