In July, Charlotte was designated a HEARTSafe Community through a program designed to promote survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
The Vermont HEARTSafe community program is a cooperative initiative of the Vermont office of EMS and first responder groups like Charlotte Volunteer Fire Rescue Services. The program recognizes local efforts made to provide strong cardiovascular-related emergency care for residents and visitors and promotes partnership between local EMS services and community agencies to improve overall cardiovascular health and awareness.
The HEARTSafe Community designation is based on what the American Heart Association calls the “Chain of Survival.” The four components of this include early access to emergency care, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care. To receive a HEARTSafe designation, cities and towns are awarded points, called heartbeats, based on their ability to meet program criteria. Program criteria include:
- CPR in automated external defibrillator, or AED, training for community members.
- Public education and awareness of the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke.
- EMS first-response vehicles equipped with AEDs.
- Public AED placement and training.
- Advanced Life Support dispatched as primary or backup responders for all medical emergencies.
- Ongoing evaluation of the communities’ chain of survival.
Heart disease and stroke account for one in three deaths in Vermont. To increase survival and improve outcomes associated with these cardiovascular events, HEARTSafe communities are enhancing their emergency response capacity, increasing public recognition of symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke, and promoting the importance of calling 911 immediately.