May 2012

MAY 2012: Mayors Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka

Author: Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Photography by Anne



Cardiovascular disease is the largest killer in the industrialized world. As reported in the USA Today, US News & World Report, and many medical journals, the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest varies tremendously from community to community—from as low as 5 percent to as high as 50 percent– an astounding 10-fold difference!

To help ensure that our citizens have the best possible chance of survival, Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue has partnered with Hilton Head Hospital to develop a comprehensive Emergency Cardiovascular Care Program that has several components.
Training citizens in bystander CPR
Public access defibrillation with Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Pre-hospital 12-lead ECG program with ECG transmission to the hospital (Code STEMI)
A highly choreographed “pit crew” concept for patients suffering sudden cardiac arrest
Early induction of therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients (Code ICE)
Data collection through the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES)
Participation in quarterly multidisciplinary committee meetings at Hilton Head Hospital

When someone experiences a sudden cardiac arrest, we have a very short time to react with a very specific series of actions that are often referred to as the “chain of survival.” They include:
• Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of 9-1-1
• Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
• Rapid defibrillation
• Effective advanced life support
• Integrated post-cardiac arrest care

Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue and Hilton Head Hospital track every cardiac arrest through the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival. By measuring our response to cardiac arrest, we can identify opportunities for improvement and determine which interventions are most effective.

We also investigated the top performing EMS systems in the country to determine the best practices for management of cardiac arrest patients. This has led to various changes including:
- Improved recognition of sudden cardiac arrest by 9-1-1 dispatchers and better coaching of bystanders
- Additional staffing on suspected sudden cardiac arrest calls
- A highly choreographed “pit crew” approach by Fire & Rescue personnel
- Early induction of therapeutic hypothermia (our new “Code ICE” program)

How successful have our efforts been? We are pleased to announce that for calendar year 2011, our survival rate was 40 percent for sudden cardiac arrest, which puts us on par with some of the best EMS systems in the nation!

To schedule a CPR or first aid class or to find out how to purchase and use an AED, you can contact our public education officer Cinda Seamon at (843) 682-5141.



Up until now, all of our commissions, boards and committees had random renewal times, and very few had term limits. Our town council has adopted general membership requirements and consistent membership terms and limits for applicable commissions, boards and committees. Terms for those affected begin on July 1 and end on June 30. By consolidating and aligning membership term limits, staff will be able to present all recommendations for appointments once per year. Commissions, boards and committees that have term limits include the Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Elections Commission, Board of Zoning Appeal, Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee, Affordable Housing Committee and Public Safety Commission.

Many citizens want to give back to the town but feel that being on town council would be too time consuming. Being on a committee, commission or board is a great way to serve our community and not feel that you are taking too much time from your family or job. Membership on a commission, board or committee provides the opportunity for citizens to learn about the town, to be involved in the community and to provide input.

The town is soliciting citizens to apply for membership on commissions, boards and committees. An applicant must be a resident of, a freeholder in, or a business owner within the municipal boundary of the Town of Bluffton. By participating on the Town of Bluffton’s commissions, boards and committees, you will be doing your civic duty and, at the same time, helping shape the future of our town.

Applications for commissions, boards and committees are available on the Town of Bluffton website ( On the website, look in the right column and click on boards and commission vacancies. You can also read about each committee and see if it is something that interests you. If you have questions when filling out an application, please contact Kimberly Chapman at (843) 706-4505. Submit applications to the Town of Bluffton, attention to Kimberly Chapman.

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