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History

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death which affects over 380,000 lives in the US each year; approximately 92% of victims do not survive.

In 1999, PSSI’s Founding CEO - Sherry Caffrey-Villari recognized an opportunity to save lives of cardiac arrest victims. Having a background as a Chicago Paramedic and Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Caffrey was aware that providing quality  Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and delivering a shock to the heart using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) within the first few minutes of the arrest is the only way to recover a normal heart rhythm. Immediate response is necessary since chances of survival decrease by 10% with every minute that passes without life-support intervention. Unfortunately, the average response time for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) across the country exceeds 10 minutes. Recognizing that most cardiac arrest fatalities occur due to a delay in the victim receiving aid, Caffrey invented a new, faster approach of responding to cardiac emergencies.

Caffrey hypothesized that placing AEDs in public places and training common citizens to deliver CPR and use an AED would maximize chances of survival. To test her theory, Sherry developed and executed the world's first Automated External Defibrillator Program - the Chicago HeartSave Program in Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports. AED units were strategically placed around the airport facilities and employees received comprehensive safety training which prepared them to respond to a medical emergency. Within the first 10 months after the program’s implementation, 14 people suffered a cardiac arrest at Chicago’s airports and, thanks to the quick actions of Good Samaritans equipped with publicly accessible AED units, nine of the 14 victims were given a second chance at life. The success of combating sudden cardiac arrest through bystander involvement caused major changes in the public safety industry and, today, AED programs represent the recognized standard of public safety in many areas of the world.

Public Safety Solutions, Inc. (PSSI) exists with the vision of increasing cardiac arrest survival rates throughout the Chicago-land area, the nation, and the world. Since the incorporation of PSSI in 2002, the PSSI team has worked to increase the presence of publicly accessible AEDs and has provided safety education to thousands of individuals with medical and non-medical backgrounds. PSSI-engineered AED Programs have saved nearly 100 lives and have reached a survival rate of over 65% - compared to the ~10% national average. 

We are the pioneers of AED Program design, implementation, and management. Whatever your environment, we can give you all the tools, knowledge, and support you need to save a life. Ready for an AED program of your own? Contact us today!

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