At some point, a person in your community may suffer from a cardiac episode. This can happen anywhere, at any time: on the golf course, while walking their dog, or in the office. And when it does occur, informed action is essential to give the victim the best chance of survival.
This is the primary motivator behind the HEARTSafe Community program, which is encouraging communities around the country to ensure that their citizens are equipped with the tools and knowledge to act quickly in the event of a cardiac emergency. In this article, we’ll explore the details of the HEARTSafe Community program and outline how
you can join this movement to increase cardiac arrest survival rates in your community.
Saving lives, one community at a time
A HEARTSafe Community promotes life-saving strategies and strengthens the communal and
emotional bonds of its citizens. These community cardiac response efforts are built around a
“Chain of Survival” that links members of the public with emergency professionals and
The Citizen CPR Foundation explains that ‘bystanders must be trained and ready to act. And
when an emergency call is made, a coordinated system that includes EMS, fire departments
and first responder agencies should work together to help increase the likelihood of
neurologically intact survival.’
HEARTSafe Community programs are designed to improve action and response through
training, preparation, and response protocols. Community leaders are also responsible for
creating a safe environment for their citizens. And by being proactive about safety, city or
community planners can attract new residents — especially in PUDs and senior citizen
How can a community become HEARTSafe?
There are currently 600 HEARTSafe communities in the country, and any municipality, county
or organization can apply for HEARTSafe designation. So how exactly can you go about
creating a community that’s prepared for sudden cardiac arrest action and response? The
HEARTSafe Community recently released a checklist of guidelines to help communities
evaluate how ready they are to put the ‘Chain of Survival’ into action. Critical questions from the
- As the majority of cardiac arrests happen outside of hospital grounds, what number of
community residents and safety officials can recognize the symptoms and get help “on
the way, right away”?
- How many people in the community know CPR and are prepared to perform it when a
cardiac episode strikes?
- Are community personnel trained to use Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and
are your municipal buildings and schools equipped with them?
- Are these AEDs well-maintained and easily accessible?
The last two points form part of a critical new criteria put in place by the HEARTSafe
organization. This new criteria requires the following:
- A community must have an established AED registry or participate in one.
- AED locations must be mapped and integrated with a community's 911 system and/or
the local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
So to grow a tight-knit group of heroes and survivors, a community must have robust AED
training, management and location strategies in place.
How to register AEDs and foster a HEARTSafe Community
These registries are offered at no charge and can serve as qualifiers for HEARTSafe’s
designation criteria, as was the case in HEARTSafe Berks County, Pennsylvania.
PlusTrac™ AED Management System (whose parent company is ZOLL Medical Corporation)
offers basic program management to AED owners at no charge, something that many other
registries do not. Basic program management includes:
- Location information
- Tracking the expiration dates of electrodes and batteries
- Monthly inspection reminders for AED site managers and designated inspectors
- Upcoming AED expiration reminders
Linking and mapping your AEDs to your community 911 system
The second part of HEARTSafe’s new criteria is ensuring AEDs are integrated with your
emergency 911 community system. This helps coordinate rapid response efforts by pinpointing
the nearest AED to the cardiac episode and dispatching it as quickly as possible, while
emergency services are enroute.
AED Link ™ by PlusTrac™ has your emergency efforts covered. This dispatch software provides
the locations of registered AEDs to participating 911 centers in real-time. It’s also the only ‘AED
location software for dispatch’ that uses AED locations from an AED program management
If you live in a HEARTSafe Community and would like to include this new criteria in your
renewal application, or are looking to become a HEARTSafe Community and want to increase
your application’s chances of acceptance, click here to request a demonstration.