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Southeast Health Foundation is leading a community-wide initiative to develop a HeartSafe Program for the region. Starting at home, the Southeast Health Foundation is partnering with the City of Dothan, the Dothan Fire Department and Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce to form an advisory committee to establish a HeartSafe program in Houston County. The goal of this partnership is the reduction of deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurring in the community.

The program focuses on four lifesaving elements, which improve survival for cardiac arrest victims:

  1. Early Identification – Promoting awareness of the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, to encourage bystanders to call 9-1-1 immediately.
  2. Early CPR – Increasing the number of individuals trained in Hands-only CPR, which increases the chance of effective defibrillation.
  3. Early Defibrillation – Increasing access to and awareness of automated external defibrillators (AED) throughout the community, which is a critical link for survival.
  4. EMS Intervention – Basic and advanced care provided by EMS is critical. Steps 1-3 by the public aid EMS and provide the best chance for a cardiac arrest victim’s survival.

Through the initiative, workplaces, campuses and communities in Houston County will be encouraged to become recognized as HeartSafe. To be eligible, an organization must complete an application and meet certain criteria, which includes ensuring an adequate number of individuals are trained in hands-only CPR and that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available within a certain distance.

As a major contributor and program supporter of the HeartSafe initiative, the Dothan Fire Department will host the first in a series of hands-only CPR training classes on Saturday, March 21 at the new Wiregrass Public Safety Center.

*CPR training scheduled for Saturday, March 21 has been postponed until further notice.

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest:

SCA is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 300,000 lives annually. Approximately 95 percent of SCA victims die before they reach a hospital or receive medical attention.

SCA generally occurs without warning. Once the SCA victim collapses, he or she has about five minutes to receive an AED shock to reset the heart’s rhythm. Without the AED shock the chance of surviving decreases by 10 percent every minute that life saving measures are not initiated (early, identification and activation, early CPR and early defibrillation).