Douglas County is one of only two in Nevada to have achieved a Heart Safe Community designation.
Both the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts and the Tahoe Douglas Fire District have achieved the designation from Nevada Project Heartbeat and Gov. Brian Sandoval.
In order to be designated a Heart Safe Community, organizations must prove they work as a community to reduce out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests.
The Douglas Healthcare Coalition, a group of healthcare providers, 911 dispatchers, emergency medical providers, hospitals, assisted living communities, public health and home health-hospice agencies, was critical to the process.
East Fork had to show how the community meets the American Heart Association’s Chain of Survival: early access to care, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care. These chains are met through the emergency medical system that incorporates Douglas 911 Emergency Services Dispatch where dispatchers provide CPR instructions and closest defibrillator location to callers. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office assists with early CPR by sending patrol deputies to cardiac arrest calls. East Fork and other community groups have provided over 65 defibrillators in public locations throughout the Valley. East Fork provides the early advanced care with eight firefighter/paramedic equipped engines and ambulances throughout the Valley.
East Fork sees cardiac arrest response as a community response, according to East Fork Operations Deputy Chief David Fogerson.
“It starts with a bystander calling 911, continues with the dispatcher asking specific questions to send the appropriate response while providing CPR instructions, the region’s best firefighter-paramedics responding with deputies and working with our two local hospitals to treat cardiac arrest patients,” he said. “Much of the equipment is pricey, the cardiac monitors our firefighter-paramedics use provide for 12-lead monitoring that is transmitted to a cardiologist who can direct the patient to a cath lab for immediate treatment if the patient is revived. These monitors cost over $25,000 each.”
This effort has been in the works for years, first started by previous operations deputy chiefs, Bobby Wartgow and Steve Tognoli.
“It is the accumulation of many years of work to provide an effective system,” Fogerson said.
Tahoe Douglas Fire District gained the same recognition making Douglas County one of only two counties in the state that are heart safe communities.
“Roadway signs in the shape of a heart will be placed by the Nevada Department of Transportation at the entrances to our community to show the designation,” Fogerson said.
The Douglas County Healthcare Coalition encourages residents to learn CPR.
For those not working in the healthcare field, may learn hands only CPR on You Tube videos from the Internet.
Anyone interested in gaining certification in CPR may contact East Fork at 782-9040 or Carson Valley Medical Center at 782-1622.