Rescue Report from St. John Rescue

Pictured above: Employees at The Westin participate in a CPR class. Students are taught a lesson on the basics of CPR and AED use before they demonstrate their skills with the manikins.
By Bob Malacarne, EMT, ASHI, NAEMT, NREMT

Greetings to all our residents, guests, and visitors.  ST. John Rescue just completed another year of providing supportive emergency medical services to those in need of assistance.  We stand-by for most events, provide emergency support to National Park Service, the VI Police Department, Fire Service, VITEMA, and EMS.  During the past year the members of St. John Rescue responded to 89 calls.  Included in this total were 18 calls to transport the deceased to Myrah Keating Smith morgue.  We provided coverage for 16 local events including 8 Tuff Miles, Beach to Beach Power Swim, several concerts, and road races.  Our members also logged in 208 hours of training.  St. John Rescue members are committed to keeping up their life saving skills by frequent training sessions.

Our chief, Bryan Barnes, traveled to St. Thomas last week to acquire 6 new “Trunking” radios for our members.  These radios will allow us to keep abreast of any emergency that may occur on St. John.  These radios are quite expensive.  If you can help us with the purchase of these $900.00 radios please contact Chief Bryan or me through our rescue phone number (340)693-7377 (RESQ).

EMR Students 2
Students in the latest EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) class perform suctioning on a “Patient” as ASHI instructor Peter Hassen is ready to assist with a Bag Valve Mask. Rescue members Rudell Callwood and Matt Rasmussen look on.

St. John Rescue is proud to announce that retired Cardiologist Dr. Jon Ward is once again assisting with our CPR/AED and First Aid training.  Dr. Ward is a highly respected physician who spends 6 months here on St. John and the balance of the year in Colorado.  He also volunteers with outreach programs that provide free medical services to less fortunate countries.  Dr. Ward brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our classes.  It is a pleasure working with Dr. Ward.

Chief Bryan is working with VITEMA to prepare our new ambulance for service.  Because this vehicle is specifically titled “AMBULANCE” it must meet strict guidelines before being placed in service.  We hope to have it operating shortly.

CPR is a life saving skill that everyone should be able to perform.  Time is critical when someone is experiencing cardiac issues.  As an example of this fact: the average survival rate for a person suffering a heart attack who receives CPR after 4 minutes is about 10%.  However, in central Florida there is a retirement community where residents group together by location and learn CPR/AED.  Once trained, they purchase an AED and place it in a central location in their neighborhood.  If someone experiences a heart attack neighbors are contacted via a “calling tree”.  In less than one minute CPR is being performed on the patient.  Within 5 minutes an AED is activated on the patient.  Their survival rate for cardiac arrest where the residents are trained is 95%.  Most of these people are 60 yrs or older.  Yet, they have a 95% survival rate.  What is the reason?  The short response time.  When a person receives CPR within 1 to 2 minutes after experiencing a heart attack their chances of survival increase greatly.  So what can you do?   TAKE A CPR CLASS!

EMR Students
EMR students Jorji, Ty and Jon assist a “person in cardiac arrest.”

St. John Rescue offers CPR/AED each month on the second Saturday. We can also schedule classes for groups of people on an as needed basis. Our classes are comprehensive, last about 3-4 hours, and provide you with the skills you may need to save the life of a loved one.  Please consider taking one of our CPR classes.  You can sign up by calling (340)693-7377(RESQ) or by emailing me at  I look forward to hearing from you.


Stroke kills or disables thousands of people each year.  Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of a stroke should seek medical help immediately.  With a stroke,“TIME IS BRAIN.” Tens of thousands of  brain cells die when someone suffers a stroke.  There are basically two types of stroke: TIA or CVA.

A TIA is a “Transient Ischemic Attack” that lasts for a relatively short period of time then dissipates.  A CVA is a “Cerebral Vascular Accident” that causes permanent damage to brain cells.  The severity and duration of the CVA will determine how much damage will be done to the brain.

TIA’s are usually caused by a blood clot that temporarily blocks an artery to the brain.  A CVA can be caused by a blood clot or by a burst artery that feeds the brain.

The cause of a stroke cannot be determined in the field.  A CT Scan must be performed in order to determine the cause.  If the cause is a blockage then a drug (tPA) can be administered to the patient to help clear the clot.  However, the rule of thumb is 3 hours from the beginning of the stroke to the time the patient receives tPA.  Another procedure to clear the blood clot is Mechanical Thrombectomy.

The test to take to determine if someone is experiencing a stroke consists of three steps:

  1. Hold out both arms. If the patient can hold both arms out straight that is a good sign
  2. If both sides of the mouth rise properly that is a good sign
  3. Speak a simple sentence

If the patient performs poorly on any of these tests please call 911 (340)776-9110 from a cell phone.  Remember “TIME IS BRAIN”

Until next month remember:  WE ARE ST. JOHN RESCUE-ON CALL FOR LIFE