FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Department for Public Health (DPH) have announced that Montgomery County is the next Kentucky county to earn the designation HeartSafe Community, an honor set aside for communities that have met criteria to better respond to cardiac arrests.
Montgomery County joins Ashland-Boyd, Bullitt, Clark, Jefferson/Louisville Metro, Jessamine, McCracken, Oldham, Shelby and Warren counties on the growing list of communities working to be healthier and safer places to live.
“Heart disease affects the lives of many Kentuckians so it is imperative that we work together to make our state HeartSafe,” DPH Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. said. “We must be prepared to respond to cardiac arrest. I commend the citizens of Montgomery County for recognizing the seriousness of this public health issue and taking the necessary steps to become a HeartSafe Community.”
The HeartSafe Community program was launched in summer 2011 by the DPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program to help communities improve the chances that anyone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest will have the best possible chance for survival. DPH is collaborating with the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) and the American Heart Association on the project.
HeartSafe communities meet a combination of factors viewed as preferable in a community’s ability to recognize and respond to cardiac arrest. These factors include:
− Early access to emergency care in which bystanders recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest and immediately call 911.
− Early CPR, a simple, easily learned emergency procedure used when someone's breathing and heartbeat suddenly stop.
− Early defibrillation, the delivery of electric shock to restore the heart's normal rhythm.
− Early advanced care delivered by a response vehicle staffed by advanced life support personnel.
Montgomery County Fire and EMS Major Robin Barber said Montgomery County’s selection as a HeartSafe Community was a collaborative effort.
“On behalf of our entire community, it is an honor to accept the HeartSafe designation that has been awarded to Montgomery County,” he said. “Many agencies have been involved, in their own capacity, to provide beneficial programs to aid in the prevention and treatment of heart conditions in our community. Our stakeholders will use this designation as a foundation to continue to provide the best in heart disease and stroke prevention for the citizens of Montgomery County and the Gateway area.”
DPH staff said Montgomery is the latest county to build grass-roots support for cardiac survival through HeartSafe.
“By becoming HeartSafe, communities are showing they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the health and well-being of their citizens,” said Bonita Bobo, manager of the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. “We congratulate the citizens of Montgomery County for their commitment to health.”
Approximately 4,600 Kentucky residents die each year due to cardiac arrest that occurs out of the hospital, away from advanced medical assistance. Typically, these events happen in the presence of a family member or friend.
The HeartSafe Community program focuses on strengthening links within the community that contribute to the likelihood of survival of cardiac arrest.
To become a HeartSafe Community, applicants must review criteria for the program, complete an application, and mail or fax the application to DPH. The recognition is valid for a period of three years and is renewable through the application process.
Communities must apply to be HeartSafe through the DPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program.
Applications are available at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/dpqi/cd/cardiovascular.htm or by calling (502) 564-7996.