Billings Clinic Wants Montana Communities HeartSafe

Heart Safe Community sign
August 17, 2010 - Kristi Deckard of the Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana, is on a quest. Because Montana is a rural state, people die from sudden cardiac arrest because they are too far away to receive emergency medical care in the 3-5 minutes necessary to prevent possible death. "Some people think that’s just how it is," Decker said. "It doesn’t have to be that way. We can do things to improve those survival odds and that's what we’re trying to do." Deckard and the clinic are exploring ways to make life in Montana safer by making every town and community a HeartSafe community.

HeartSafe communities receive this designation by having a certain number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) located around town, community members trained in CPR/AED, designated first responders with AED-equipped vehicles, and advanced life support personnel available for medical emergencies. Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) programs can help achieve these goals.

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