Orland Fire Protection District “Save Rate” rises to 71 percent
Fire Chief Schofield emphasizes during lifesaving ceremony that citizens “have a better chance of surviving a heart attack if that heart attack happens in Orland”
OFPD, Orland Park — Citizens who experience a heart attack have a significantly increased chance to survive a heart attack “if that heart attack happens in Orland Park,” Orland Fire Protection District officials said during a ceremony honoring First Responders who saved the life of a cardiac victim last November.
Fire Chief Michael Schofield told attendees at Tuesday’s Board meeting (Feb. 28, 2023) that OFPD data shows the “save rate” has increased from 65 percent to 71 percent in the past year, one of the highest “Save Rate” in the region and the state. The national average is about 10 to 15 percent.
Schofield announced the increase of 71 percent during the ceremony which honored an Orland Park Police officer and eight OFPD Firefighter/Paramedics who responded to an emergency heart attack call for Orland Park resident Kenneth Wilkas.
“We have a 71 percent save rate, today, probably one of the highest in the region and in the state. The reason we do is because of the gentlemen standing in the back of the board room, the firefighters/paramedics, and the cooperation of our Police Department,” Schofield said.
“Unlike many fire districts, we go above and beyond. We respond to a cardiac arrest with nine paramedics. We do that because we rotate when we are doing CR to make sure we are doing the best possible CPR. Our Fire Fighters/paramedics are the best of the best. We are a destination Fire District. People seek us out because of what we do.”
The First Responders were dispatched to a cardiac arrest call on November 26, 2022 at around 11:30 PM at the 15200 block of Royal Fox Hunt Road in Orland Park to assist Wilkas who was found unresponsive and not breathing when the EMS First Responders arrived.
Wilkas assisted OFPD EMS Coordinator Lt. Josh Girdick in presenting the “William Bonnar Senior Lifesaving Award” to Orland Park Police Officer Julio Oliva, who was the first on the scene.
Girdik present “OFPD Unit Commendation Awards” to the eight Firefighter/Paramedics who continued the emergency response care for Wilkas. The recipients are: Firefighters Christian Andrews and Jeff Anderson (Ambulance 2); Lieutenant Wally Rafacz, Engineer Jim Strzechowski and Firefighter Bryan Kluever (Engine 2); Lieutenant Jeff Ruchniewicz, Engineer Mark Reichert, and Firefighter J. McCleary (Truck 1).
“I cannot express my love and admiration for everything that you guys do every single day. So thank you,” Wilkas said after the ceremony shaking the hand of each of the nine First Responders.
Schofield credited both the Fire District firefighter/paramedics and the members of the Orland Police Department who have AEDs in their vehicles. AED’s, or Automated External Defibrillators, are used by trained First Responders to revive a person who has a heart attack.
“Not many police departments respond as they do in Orland Park. We take it for granted because we have such a great relationship. The police are on the streets 24/7. We firefighter/paramedics respond from the Fire stations. The police officers are on the street and they get there quickly, and they have AEDs and CPR training. You have the best chance of saving a life, number one, if you know CPR, and, number 2, if you have an AED available. Our Orland Park Police Officers have AEDs with them when they respond to emergencies.”
Schofield credited both the firefighter/paramedics and the Orland Police Department as “outstanding partners” responsible for the district having one of the highest “Save Rates” in the region and the state.
Wilkas expressed his gratitude to each of the First Responders and he assisted EMS Coordinator Lt. Josh Girdick in distributing the awards.
OFPD Board President John Brudnak, who succeeded Chris Evoy as Board President on Tuesday, praised the district and the police for their continued commitment to the highest level of professionalism and service.
“We have the best First Responders in the nation I believe,” Brudnak said. “We are so proud of the work they do and are grateful for the work they did to save Mr. Wilkas’ life.”
“We thank Josh Girdick, who is our EMS coordinator who took over from Mark Duke. It is their passion for EMS that helps us go to that next level. And, it is our training. We would be nothing without our paramedics, and our people here, and the cooperation with the Orland Park Police Department,” Schofield said after the presentations.
“I can’t say enough of how proud we all are of the people we have working for us, and the community knows that. The are other communities around us that don’t have the level of training that we have.”
Acknowledging the police and firefighter/paramedics, Schofield added, “It is not a false statement to say that you have a better chance of surviving a heart attack if that heart attack happens in Orland. And that is because of the guys here.”
All firefighters in the Orland Fire Protection District are also trained Paramedics increasing the chances of a patient’s survival in an emergency situation.
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