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The Central Jackson County Fire Protection District along with the Cities of Blue Springs and Grain Valley, Missouri, and St. Mary’s Hospital of Blue Springs is proud to announce that it has initiated a comprehensive community Automated External Defibrillation (AED) program in conjunction with several community outreach education programs. The Vital Heart program features a comprehensive one stop access point to purchase AED’s for citizens and businesses located in Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lake Tapawingo, and other areas served by the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.
Early on, AED’s were only used in medical facilities and by personnel trained in advanced life support. Over the years however, these devices have been refined to the point that they are small, portable, very affordable, and extremely reliable, safe, and easy to use. The American Heart Association reports that sudden cardiac arrest victims who receive immediate CPR and a shock from an AED within three to five minutes have survival rates as high as seventy-four percent. “Public access AED’s have saved and continue to save lives around the country” says Assistant Chief Paul Lininger, “even though we have a few AED’s located in our district, the deployment of an AED saved the life of two individuals last year, they can simply make the difference.”
A vital link to the success of the Vital Heart program will be public education. Raising awareness for heart attack and stroke, CPR, and first aid is an integral part to this program. The American Heart Association reports that people often wait several hours before seeking medical assistance or calling 911 when experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or even stroke. More disturbing, countless people drive themselves to the emergency room rather than calling 911; half of them will die before reaching the emergency room. “When a person experiences a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence” says Captain Mike Wallace, “it is our goal to educate our citizens of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and why it is important to call 911 early.” Early recognition is one of the first links in the American Heart Association’s links of survival.
Sudden cardiac death happens every day. It occurs when a person’s heart stops pumping for a variety of reasons. No matter the cause, if CPR is not immediately performed, brain death will begin to occur in about four to six minutes. “Every minute that goes by without CPR, the chance for survival decreases by about ten percent” says Captain Wallace, “CPR buys time by maintaining some blood flow to the heart & brain while EMS units are responding.” The Vital Heart program calls for public education classes in CPR and first aid. “We want everyone trained in CPR” says Assistant Chief Lininger, “if you work or live in our service area, we want you trained.” The American Heart Association recently introduced a new CPR program which emphasizes hands only chest compressions. This new technique, called “Hands Only”, eliminates the mouth to mouth ventilation. “We believe this will eliminate the hesitancy to perform CPR since mouth to mouth will not be required” says Lininger, “we want you to call 911 and properly perform chest compressions until EMS responders arrive on scene.” The district currently offers monthly classes in hands only CPR as well as other CPR certification and First Aid courses.
If you would like more information on the Vital Heart program or on how you can become a citizen volunteer please contact Captain Mike Wallace at 816-229-9118 or by email Here