Wake County celebrates survivors of cardiac arrest

Code: Celebrate! event honors 2023 survivors and responders

EMS paramedics smile with an elderly patient
EMS staff (left to right) Ashley Hernandez, Doug Wilkins and Alyssa Schuster celebrate with a cardiac arrest survivor.

Wake County Emergency Medical Services honored survivors of cardiac arrest at the 15th annual Code: Celebrate! event this week. As a part of National EMS Week, which runs May 19–25, the two-night event reunited survivors with the responders who cared for them.

“I’m proud to say that Wake County understands the importance of celebrating and investing in our public safety professionals,” said Wake County Commissioner Don Mial. “Ensuring they have all the necessary resources and support as they perform their life-saving work truly makes a difference.”

Wake County EMS has one of the most successful cardiac arrest survival programs in the nation. In 2023, the system celebrated 103 code saves and averaged a 12.4% code save rate, higher than both the national and state average rates.

Code: Celebrate! honored this accomplishment through community building at the new Garner Main EMS Station. Survivors and their families had a chance to connect personally with first responders over refreshments and activities. The first night of Code: Celebrate! alone saw about 100 attendees.

“Witnessing the reunion between survivors and responders is a powerful reminder of the impact our EMS team has on the community,” said Dr. Jon Studnek, director of Wake County EMS. “We are constantly working to improve our system and engage with residents so that we can continue saving lives throughout our growing county.”

The event was also an opportunity to emphasize the importance of learning CPR. A person experiencing cardiac arrest is three times more likely to survive if bystander CPR is performed.

Wake County EMS offers free hands-only CPR classes to the community so that all residents can be better prepared for an emergency. You can learn more at wake.gov/ems.

Press Release