In a landmark development several years in the making, Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains will receive a world class cardiac arrest response system this summer. This is the result of close cooperation by local, national, and international partners to provide an advanced, integrated system to citizens and visitors alike to these two destination resort ski mountains.
The “Mountain Initiative” is the brainstorm of Lynn Blake, cardiac arrest survivor and founder of Starting Hearts. “It’s a dream come true to be the first and only community in the United States to provide these innovative lifesaving solutions for the public. We are honored that Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains, industry leaders, recognize the value of our work and are supporting Starting Hearts in implementing this advanced SmartLink defibrillator technology and our CALL.PUSH.SHOCK.™ educational programs for its employees and guests. We are especially grateful to Brice May and Vail Ski Patrol for their passionate support of this initiative—which has already resulted in lives saved.”
Vail Mountain will receive six new defibrillator placements and Beaver Creek Mountain will receive four, strategically located at the base of some of the most popular lifts. In addition, Starting Hearts and Vail/Beaver Creek Ski Patrols will train all Vail Resorts mountain employees in lifesaving skills to provide early care when needed most.
Brice May of Vail Mountain Ski Patrol stated, “A defibrillator used in the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest can greatly increase the chance of survival. Though Ski Patrol is well trained in CPR and has access to defibrillators across the mountain, we believe that having additional defibrillators readily accessible in public spaces can truly make the difference in an emergency situation.”
Mayor Dave Chapin of the Town of Vail stated, “Vail, our home, is truly ‘like no place on earth.’ We care for our citizens and millions of annual visitors, and are so pleased to support this initiative. We are inspired by Starting Hearts’ founder, Lynn Blake, and proud to join her in really making a difference in our community.”
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. Approximately 420,000 people experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year in the U.S., and when bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AEDs, the survival rates increase by 31.4 percent [1,2]. For one SCA survivor, this collaboration has special importance, as it means providing others with access to AEDs in the same area where his life was saved.
“While on a ski trip to Vail in 2000, I experienced a sudden cardiac arrest at the top of the mountain. If it weren’t for the Philips HeartStart AED on-site and ski patroller who jumped into action, I would not be here today,” said Lee Curtes, a SCA survivor. “Thanks to Philips, I’ve been able to see my grandchildren grow up. I go back to Vail Mountain every year to ski with the patrollers that helped save my life.”
“Immediate treatment during the minutes between a person’s heart stopping and the arrival of emergency responders is crucial,” said Arman Voskerchyan, Business Leader, Therapeutic Care, Philips. “Through this collaboration with Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains, Starting Hearts and medic assist, Philips HeartStart AEDs will now be available in two popular ski destinations, allowing easy access to the technology during a critical time period to help save lives.”
Sven de Waal, VP International Sales & Strategic Accounts for medic assist, stated, “We are honored to provide our leading edge innovations, enhancing the quality and supervision of AED programs, to such an important destination resort area in the United States. Our SmartLink solution provides daily remote status monitoring of the defibrillator via the mobile 3G network; device removal alarm and built-in two-way communications to allow the 911 dispatch to assist first responders. Further, our patented SafeBox cabinet provides safe access and a controlled environment for defibrillators to ensure they are always ready, regardless of extreme cold weather conditions.”
“We also extend our gratitude to Starting Hearts for introducing our innovations to the Mountain Initiative. We are encouraged by the organization’s passion and commitment to saving lives, and we look forward to working with Starting Hearts in developing public access programs across the nation.”
County Commissioner Jill Ryan stated, “Eagle County Commissioners applaud and support Starting Hearts’ mission to save precious lives. With over 400 defibrillators now in place and more than 15,000 trained citizen first responders, Eagle County is one of the safest places in the nation to survive a cardiac arrest. Together with Starting Hearts, we recently outfitted all Sheriff’s Department patrol cars, accelerating our county-wide capabilities. And now, with Starting Hearts’ new Mountain Initiative, our county will be all the safer for our citizens and more than 1.6 million annual visitors.”
The Mountain Initiative is part of Starting Hearts model community program designed to make Eagle County and the communities it serves the safest place on the planet to not only survive a cardiac arrest, but thrive as well.
The launch event for this new cardiac arrest response system will take place on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 10am MT at Gondola One in Vail Village. The public is invited to attend.
References Incidence of EMS-treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States, Thomas D. Rea; Mickey S. Eisenberg; Greg Sinibaldi; Roger D. White, Resuscitation, September 16, 2016  AHA Releases 2015 Heart and Stroke Statistics, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, September 16, 2016