The Critical Role of First Responders in the Chain of Survival

The Critical Role of First Responders in the Chain of Survival

The American Heart Association defines six links in the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Chain of Survival that are crucial to help save a life. The first three links occur before an ambulance arrives on scene. The final three links occur once the ambulance is there, and the patient is brought to a hospital. The six links are as follows:

6 Key Links in the Chain of Survival

  1. Recognition of the sudden cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system. In the United States, this means call 9-1-1.
  2. Early CPR
  3. Rapid defibrillation from an AED
  4. Advanced resuscitation from EMS
  5. Post Cardiac Arrest care at the hospital from a physician
  6. Recovery
When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, immediate CPR and the quick shock from an AED can increase survival rates greatly. EMS response time across the United States, on average, can vary between 7 and 14 minutes. Therefore, first responders rely heavily on bystanders who witness sudden cardiac arrests to do anything they can in the chain before the ambulance arrives. Unfortunately, if nothing is done before EMS arrives, survival rates are very low.

The Fourth Link in the Chain of Survival

EMS personnel are the fourth link in the chain of survival and are critical to taking the next steps to save a life by using their expertise and providing advanced resuscitation. When they arrive on a scene, they take over for the bystander. They continue performing CPR, administer medication, use a defibrillator, and provide other necessary lifesaving techniques. Once the patient is stabilized, EMS is going to transport them to a hospital where they can continue the chain of survival and receive post sudden cardiac arrest care.
Many EMTs are equipped with our Defibtech Lifeline ARM which performs mechanical chest compressions. In an emergency situation, the Lifeline ARM, when used as an adjunct to manual CPR, provides extended CPR with minimal interruptions when fatigue, insufficient personnel, or patient transport (e.g., ambulance, intra-hospital) may prohibit the delivery of effective/consistent compressions to the victim. EMTs use their training to determine when this equipment should be used.

Defibtech Thanks Our First Responders

Oftentimes, first responders are not acknowledged for the vital role they play in helping to save a life. Defibtech would like to take the time to sincerely thank our first responders and EMS professionals. They respond to sudden cardiac arrest calls each and every day. They do everything they possibly can to give someone a second chance to go back home to their family. Thank you to all EMS professionals for the important part you play and the amazing work you do!
To learn more about Defibtech and to join us on our quest to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, visit