Naperville Fire Department to Celebrate Survivors of Sudden Cardiac Arrest at Nov. 18 Banquet

The Naperville Fire Department is excited to establish an annual celebration to recognize the successful efforts of first responders and hospital staff to implement a revised sudden cardiac arrest response protocol and, more importantly, to celebrate the lives of the survivors who have benefited from it.

The first-ever Survivors Banquet will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 18, at Meson Sabika in Naperville. This invitation-only event is offered at no cost to the survivors.

The celebration comes at the culmination of the first year of a two-year field study of the revised response protocol that completely changed the way Naperville Fire Department personnel provide care to a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. The changes are based largely on the successes of the Rialto, California Fire Department and include utilizing new techniques and technologies to optimize CPR, establish an airway without stopping compressions and monitor the carbon dioxide in the patient’s body, among other changes. The revised protocol was implemented in November 2018 after being approved by the Edward Hospital EMS System Medical Director and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“We’re using science and data to better treat patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, and the results we’re seeing are really encouraging,” said Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis. “Our department’s survivor and pulse return rates were already above the national average, yet this revised protocol has improved those statistics even more. We want to recognize the patients and their families as well as any dispatchers, fire department staff, emergency room staff and/or bystanders that had a hand in their positive outcome.”

In 2016, the Naperville Fire Department received the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Heart Safe Community Award for an EMS system serving a community with a population over 100,000. Part of the recognition criteria was based on the fact that Naperville FD’s pulse return rate of 21% and patient survival rate of 10% were above the national average. Since implementing the revised protocol one year ago, however, Naperville FD has seen those rates increase even higher to 37% of patients regaining a pulse during treatment and 18.5% of patients surviving the incident. On average, the Naperville Fire Department responds to approximately 85 sudden cardiac arrest calls each year.

“Our goal is to increase the number of people not just surviving sudden cardiac arrest, but surviving it neurologically intact and able to walk out of the hospital on their own,” said Chief Puknaitis. “The encouraging results we’ve seen so far are only possible because of the support of the Edward Hospital EMS System that allowed us to implement these significant changes and because of the acceptance of our staff to adopt new ways of doing things and train relentlessly.”

The two-year field study of the revised sudden cardiac arrest response protocol continues until November 2020. Upon completion of the study, fire department staff will present their data and findings to the Edward Hospital EMS System in hopes of making the protocol the department’s permanent course of treatment when responding incidents of sudden cardiac arrest.

About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at