To save lives by establishing awareness, education and immediate access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) throughout the city and county of San Diego to SAVE LIVES!
Project Heart Beat has one main goal: to save lives through early defibrillation. San Diego Project Heart Beat’s objective is to make Automatic External defibrillators (AED) as accessible as fire extinguishers throughout our community.
Why the Program was created
San Diego Project Heat Beat was created to increase the survival rates for victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest throughout San Diego County. The program was designed to offer all agencies businesses and organizations every element possible to implement these life-saving programs affordably, easily and successfully. Offering the best quality assurance for their individual site programs.
The inception of the program and initial goal
Since November of 2001 San Diego Project Heart Beat has been helping to save lives throughout our San Diego communities. The programs initial goal was to place at least 250 AED units throughout the county by Superbowl of January 2003. The goal was exceeded by nearly 550 AED units at that time.
The programs ultimate goal
San Diego Project Heart Beats ultimate goal is to see that AEDs are as accessible as fire extinguishers throughout our county and state. Inevitably this will allow the greatest increase of survivability rates among Cardiac Arrest victims. Another goal is to see that every high school student in our state graduate with the experience and certification of CPR/AED behind them to take with them in their future to help save lives.
Proving these programs work
SDPHB has helped to prove that these life saving programs do work. One of our first programs to initiate a PAD program through San Diego Project Heart Beat was San Diego International Airport. Prior to their program their survival rates among Cardiac Arrest victims was the same as our county-wide average which is only 4%. Within the first year of their program they experienced four Sudden Cardiac Arrests on site. Three of those four victims were saved by the AEDs implemented into their PAD program for response. That is a 75% survival rate within their programs first year! Today they hold an 86% survival rate with their PAD program. This is medical history right here in our own back yard.
San Diego Project Heart Beat is a nationally recognized program. Voted best “Large Community Program” in October of 2003 by the National Center for Early Defibrillation (NCED) , a 2009 IAFC Award recipient and 2009 SCAA Award recipient for its organization and success.
The San Diego Project Heart Beat program has set the standard for AED program management and become a life-saving role model helping other major cities throughout our nation initiate and imitate similar programs. (Miami FL., Nashville TN., Minneapolis, MN).
Our Team – San Diego Project Heart Beat is a team of professionals dedicated to saving lives. We are proud to be associates with our Partners and supporters who make it possible for us to continue saving lives.
James V. Dunford, MD
Dr. Dunford is the Medical Director of the City of San Diego and a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCSD Medical Center. In 2000 Jim saw the potential of public access to defibrillation (PAD) programs and collaborated with key stakeholders to found San Diego Project Heart Beat. Jim serves as the President of the Greater San Diego Board of the American Heart Association. In 2008 he received the Volunteer Physician of the Year Award for the AHA Western States (California, Nevada and Utah).
Karen L. McElliott
Karen McElliott has lived in San Diego since April of 1972. She attended Colorado State University and has served on and chaired various organizations and task forces within her community focusing on health, education, and land use issues. Karen McElliott was appointed to the Division of Medical Quality in 1992 by Governor Pete Wilson, Karen served as President of the Division of Medical Quality from 1993 to 1995. She served as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Medical Board of California from 1996-2000. She is a former public member of the California Board of Podiatric Medicine where she served as President in 1991.
San Diego Mayoral appointments include; past Chairwoman of Qualcomm Stadium Advisory Board, past Vice Chairwoman of the San Diego Planning Commission, served as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Padre Planning, and served as acting Vice Chair of the Naval Training Center Reuse Planning Committee. She was the Volunteer Chairwoman for Super Bowl XXXII, and was responsible for the recruiting, training and organizing over 10,000 volunteers. She was Communications and Media Relations Co- Chair of Super Bowl XXXVII. She was the Volunteer Chairwoman of the Yes, on Proposition “C” Campaign for the new downtown ballpark. Karen is on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Holiday Bowl and serves on its Team Selection Committee. She has chaired the Kickoff Luncheon for the San Diego Holiday Bowl and is the board liaison for the Holiday Bowl Red Shirts. Past Board member of LEAD San Diego, is an active member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego International Sports Council, and a Member of the Board of Committee 2000 for Women, supporting a baseball district in San Diego. She is Secretary on the Board of the Port Tenants Association. She ran unsuccessfully for the 5th District Council seat. Karen is presently committed to San Diego Project Heart Beat. A program that provides awareness, education and early access to AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) in the city and county of San Diego to help SAVE LIVES. She has been recognized for her efforts by receiving the Alonzo 2003 Downtown Partnership Award, KGTV Channel Ten Finalist Leadership Award, and City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Volunteer of the Year.
PAD Program Manager
EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN/PUBLIC ACCESS DEFIBRILLATION (PAD) PROGRAM MANAGER FOR
SAN DIEGO PROJECT HEART BEAT
Maureen O’Connor has been in the field of emergency services for nearly seventeen years. Most recently she acts as the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) PROGRAM MANAGER for San Diego Project Heart Beat (SDPHB). SDPHB is one of our nation’s first defibrillation programs to offer such a unique opportunity for public and private venture. SDPHB was recognized by the National Center for Early Defibrillation (NCED) as best Large Community Program of the year in October of 2003. Most recently SDPHB received the 2009 Heart Safe Community Award PAD Program, Large Community from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association’s 2009 SCAA Public Service Award. Maureen takes great pride in her involvement with the development of this internationally recognized program since its inception in 2001.
Maureen has served the communities of San Diego County as an Emergency First Responder in many different facets. Maureen has worked on some of San Diego Cities busiest paramedic units for San Diego Fire-Rescue, served as a Firefighter for the City of Poway and worked as a Ranger/Diver for the City of San Diego and is a Citizen’s CPR Foundation Board Member.
Maureen’s passion for life saving PAD programs is apparent in the success of San Diego Project Heart Beat. Maureen and her team members have helped bring the dream and foresight of Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) and Early Access Defibrillation programs into fruition within the communities of San Diego County saving 68 lives to date and deploying over 5000 Automatic External Defibrillator’s (AED’s). Maureen won the San Diego Business Journal’s Annual Women Who Mean Business Award in October of 2004, for her success and accomplishments with the regional PAD program. She was also recognized by her department as EMS Administrative Support Person of the Year during National EMS Week in May 2005 and recipient of VFW Post 3788’s 2005 Paramedic/EMT of the year award.
Training Center Coordinator
Dan Beebe has been in the field of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for over 25 years. His career started as an Emergency Medical Technician serving the North San Diego County area.
In 2004 Dan joined the San Diego Project Heart Beat Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program. He brings to the training center over 10 years experience as an American Heart Association (AHA) Basic and Advanced Life Support Instructor. Three years as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Course Director.
In July 2005, he was named as an AHA Regional Faculty member for the San Diego County Area Task Force, Western States Region.
Dan has been a Paramedic serving San Diego county since 1990 and has been employed by the City of San Diego, Fire-Rescue Department since 1997. He has taught AHA courses for University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Medical Center, and in 2003 for San Diego Project Heart Beat prior to his assignment as the Training Center Coordinator.
Community Relations Specialist
Loralee Olejnik (pronounced o-lay-nick) currently serves as the Community Relations Specialist for San Diego Medical Services Enterprise (SDMSE) and its public access defibrillation program, Project Heart Beat. She started with SDMSE in 2006. Ms. Olejnik is responsible for coordinating and implementing a comprehensive community education program for the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and 4S Ranch. She is an American Heart Association CPR instructor as well as a certified child/infant car seat installation technician, and certified as an EMT-Basic. She recently joined the Project Heart Beat team, providing education and training on AEDs throughout San Diego County. She is currently working on special projects such as applying for grants to outfit public schools with AEDs. Please contact her for more information on how you can help in this important effort.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen without warning anywhere, at anytime to anyone. San Diego Heart Beat programs were inspired by the memory of Ron McElliott and Kendra Rose Blaylock.
Ron McElliott, 56 years old, collapses at the end of a 10k race and dies. He leaves behind a high school sweetheart—his wife of 36 years, Karen – daughters Kimberly and Jennifer son in laws Tim and Sean and four grandchildren, Corinne, Katie, Tanner and Skylar. In a single moment, their lives are changed forever.
Ron McElliott was a dedicated family man and a leader in the community. He and his wife shared a wonderful life. Together, they dedicated their time, energy and talents to projects that changed the face of San Diego.
A leader in the construction and development industry for 27 years, Ron was most proud of developing the Chula Vista Marina and RV Resort. A recreational niche for South Bay residents and visitors alike, the resort celebrates Chula Vista’s vibrant spirit and the natural beauty of its picturesque waterfront.
Ron also loved sports. There wasn’t a team in San Diego that he didn’t support. Inspired by his love of sports and dedication to the community, Ron proudly served on the Holiday Bowl Board of Directors. Ron didn’t just love to watch sports, he also loved to participate in them an avid snow and water skier, Ron also excelled in soccer and tennis.
On October 17, 1999, Ron participated in Chula Vista’s Arturo Barrios Invitational, a 10K race he had founded 10 years prior. At the finish line, Ron collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Two respiratory clinicians, who also were running the race, immediately initiated CPR. The ambulance assigned to the race with an AED had moments earlier been called to a non-emergency event.
Ron was transported Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista where he was pronounced dead. Ron was 56 years old.
Sadly the tragedy suffered by the McElliott’s is not unlike those of other American families. Every year cardiac arrest steals the lives of some 465,00 loved ones. It’s this country’s leading cause of death.
Automated External Defibrillators can restore a normal heart rhythm in individuals suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. When a person suffers from sudden cardiac arrest, each minute that passes without defibrillation causes their chance of survival to decrease by 10 percent. If an AED had been available at the Arturo Barrios Invitational, Ron would have had a chance and could be alive today, ready to run another 10K
Nothing could have ever prepared us for that fateful day in July 2001. Up until that moment we felt our life was perfect. We were blessed with a beautiful seven year old daughter named Kendra Rose, my husband had a great 25 year career with Carlsbad Fire Department, where he served as a Captain /Paramedic and I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom.
That summer in 2001, my husband and I had decided we were going to spend family time together as much a possible. Keeping to that promise, on July 26 we headed out to the Colorado River in Arizona for a few days of boating and fun. We had only been on the water a couple of hours when Kendra Rose collapsed. When my husband could not feel a pulse, he immediately began CPR, which he was so skillfully trained in. He continued CPR for 20 minutes before emergency medical personnel arrived. Unfortunately, CPR alone was not enough and I tearfully watched in horror as my only child slipped away.
Later we would learn that Kendra Rose died from sudden cardiac arrest, due to an undiagnosed heart condition known as Idiopathic Hypertrophic Sub Aortic Stenosis (IHSS). We would also learn that had an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) been readily available, Kendra would have had 70% chance of survival in those crucial first three minutes following her SCA. An AED is a device that automatically analyzes the heart rhythm and advises the lay rescuer, through computerized voice instruction, when to push a button to deliver a potentially life saving shock to the victim. Each minute of delay before defibrillation, reduces the chance of survival by 10%.
In the following months after Kendra Roses’ death my husband and I searched for answers. During that search we discovered we were not alone in our heartache and we were horrified to learn that 5,000 to 7,000 children die each year from SCA, many while at school. In an effort to increase public awareness of SCA in children and the importance of having AEDs readily available, we joined the efforts of San Diego Project Heart Beat and formed the Heart to Heart committee dedicated to SCA awareness and the placement of AEDs on school campuses in our community. Although, nothing can bring our daughter back we find comfort in knowing our Kendra’s tragedy has brought about positive change in our community starting with the implementation of an automated external defibrillator program in the Carlsbad Unified School District, the first school in the state of California to implement such a program. Our school campus is now safer because they are equipped with these devices and other schools are following suit. It is our hope that in the near future all schools will follow this lead and AEDs will be as accessible as fire extinguishers.
We encourage you to become aware, become prepared and make your schools a safer place. Don’t wait until a life is lost.
Kim & Michele Blaylock, AED Advocates