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IAFC Recognizes Fire Departments with Heart Safe Community Awards

The International Association of Fire Chief’s EMS Section recognized two local fire departments with the annual Heart Safe Community Awards.

Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire & Rescue and Howard County (MD) Department of Fire and Rescue were honored at the opening session of this week’s Fire-Rescue Med conferences for their outstanding achievement in developing creative approaches to implement and maintain systems to prevent and treat cardiac-related diseases.

The Heart Safe Community Award, co-sponsored by the IAFC EMS Section and Physio-Control, examines communities holistically and how they have integrated their systems to work symbiotically.

“These departments are doing great work in cardiac care in their community; but, they are also doing something more,” said Chief Al Gillespie, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “These fire departments are demonstrating the level of innovation and collaboration that is critical in today’s environment if we want to raise the bar on community health and safety. ”

Agencies must demonstrate improved quality of out-of-hospital resuscitation through bystander CPR; AED deployment (PAD programs); out-of-hospital 12-lead ECGs; 12-lead ECG advanced notification to the receiving hospital; or other continuous quality resuscitation improvements. The award honors departments representing small communities with populations under 100,000 and large communities with populations over 100,000.

2012 Winner – Small Community

Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Over the past 3 years, Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue, partnering with Hilton Head Hospital, developed a Comprehensive Emergency Cardiovascular Care Program. In addition, they formed a multi-disciplinary STEMI and Therapeutic Hypothermia Steering Committee as a forum for stakeholders to address concerns, identify opportunities for improvement, and share data that validates the success of their programs and improves continuing education with feedback to emergency personnel. Through the STEMI Committee, they obtain DICOM DVDs of the patients’ angiograms on request and develop case studies for paramedics to sharpen their 12-lead ECG interpretation skills and enhance education with the entire department. With the CARES Registry, they monitor every resuscitation attempt, strengthening the chain-of-survival in our community.

Winner – Large Community

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue
Howard County, Maryland

In 2011, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue created new innovations as well as a new community program in Bystander CPR. Partnering with Howard County General Hospital, they produced a STEMI program to minimize heart damage for patients with a model education system and detailed patient feedback to the ALS provider who treated the STEMI patient.

They also developed a program and increased training to improve neurologically intact survival for patients experiencing out-of-hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). At the request of their County Executive, they have created a community Hands-Only CPR program with the goal to train all Howard County residents and employees in CPR. In addition, partnering with St. Agnes Hospital, they started a pilot protocol to study and improve performance on endotracheal intubation with Glidescope training and deployment.

The Heart-Safe Community awards received many nominations. The IAFC EMS Section and Physio-Control congratulates all nominees for their continued efforts in making CPR/AED training, PAD awareness programs, sudden cardiac arrest awareness and STEMI management a priority in their communities.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world’s leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.

About the IAFC Emergency Medical Services Section
The IAFC EMS Section is a forum that addresses EMS issues for the leadership of America’s fire and emergency service, provides guidance and direction to the IAFC board and membership and represents fire-based EMS issues to the federal government and other EMS partners.

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