A local neighborhood volunteer network improves response times for simulated cardiac arrest

K. B. Kern, T. P. Colberg, C. Wunder, C. Newton, M. J. Slepian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aim: Each minute is crucial in the treatment of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (CA). Immediate chest compressions and early defibrillation are keys to good outcomes. We hypothesized that a coordinated effort of alerting trained local neighborhood volunteers (vols) simultaneously with 911 activation of professional EMS providers would result in substantial decreases in call-to-arrival times, leading to earlier CPR and defibrillation. Methods: We developed a program of simultaneously alerting CPR- and AED-trained neighborhood vols and the local EMS system for CA events in a retirement residential neighborhood in Southern Arizona, encompassing approximately 440 homes. The closest EMS station is 3.3 miles from this neighborhood. Within this neighborhood, 15 vols and the closest EMS station were involved in multiple days of mock CA notifications and responses. Results: The two groups differed significantly in distance to the mock CA event and in response times. The volunteers averaged 0.3 ± 0.2 miles from the mock CA incidences while the closest EMS station averaged 3.4 ± 0.1 miles away (p < 0.0001). Response times (time from call to arrival) also differed. Two volunteers, one bringing an AED, averaged 1 min 38 s ± 53 s in Phase 1, while it took the EMS service an average of 7 min 20 s ± 1 min 13 s to arrive on scene; p < 0.0001. Conclusion: Local neighborhood volunteers were geographically closer and arrived significantly sooner at the mock CA scene than did the EMS service. The approximate time savings from call to arrival with the volunteers was 4–6 min.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Chain-of-survival
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Digital-mobile device technology
  • EMS services
  • Neighborhood volunteer response network
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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