New community wide “HeartSafe” initiative focuses on saving lives

Wake Up Wiregrass

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) – Southeast Health, along with Dothan Fire-Rescue and the Dothan Chamber of Commerce are partnering together to offer a new community wide initiative called HeartSafe focused on improving the chain of survival for those who are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Becky Burke, registered nurse and clinical educator at Southeast Heart’s Emergency Department, says this initiative is achieved by increasing awareness and education related to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) as well by increasing the number of lay persons trained in a minimum of hands-only CPR and by increasing the number of AEDs in the community. By continuing to partner with local businesses, schools, churches and other entities and getting them involved in this initiative and having them become a HeartSafe Workplace, HeartSafe Campus, or HeartSafe Community.some facts about Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac death is caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), inherited disorders, medications, and diseases that change the shape of the heart. When the heart stops beating, oxygen is not circulating to vital organs to include the brain. It affects more than 300,000 people annually in the United States. 70% of all SCAs occur in the home, 95% of SCA victims die before they reach a hospital and life expectancy for these patients reduce by 10% every minute without CPR being initiated.

Early identification and activation by calling 911, early CPR and early defibrillation implemented can triple the survival rate.

An automated external defibrillator or AED is a user-friendly device, that when hooked up correctly, can determine if a person is in a shockable rhythm and will deliver that necessary energy to shock a person’s heart back into an appropriate rhythm. The only thing a layperson has to do is apply patches correctly and power the AED up. The AED does all the work and walks the layperson through the appropriate steps.

Any organization interested in becoming a HeartSafe workplace, campus or community, can call the Southeast Health Foundation at (334)673-4150 or can go to www.SEHealthFoundation/HeartSafe.

You can also contact the Southeast Health Foundation if you are not an organization, but interested in learning how to do hands-only CPR or learning how to operate an AED.

For those interested in learning hands-only CPR and how to use an AED, the group is hosting a HeartSafe Community event on March 26th at the new Wiregrass Public Safety Center.

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