Health and Family Services Cabinet
Louisville Selected as ‘HeartSafe Community’
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) announced today that Louisville has become the state’s first metropolitan area to earn the designation “HeartSafe Community,” an honor set aside for communities that have met criteria to better respond to cardiac arrests.
“Heart disease is one of the most serious – and most common – health issues facing our state,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Steve Davis, M.D. “That’s why it is so important that we are prepared to respond to cardiac arrest. As the state’s largest metropolitan area, we are very pleased to see the citizens of Louisville and Jefferson County taking the health of their fellow citizens so seriously by taking steps to become a HeartSafe community. They are setting an example for all Kentuckians.”
Louisville/Jefferson County joins nearby Shelby County as Kentucky’s two HeartSafe communities. The program was launched in the summer of 2011 by the DPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program as a way 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 American Heart Association on the project.
“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 for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. “We congratulate the citizens of Louisville 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.
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.
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.