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Jamestown becomes largest Cardiac Ready Community in ND

JAMESTOWN, N.D.—Jamestown may have earned the designation as a Cardiac Ready Community this week, but that doesn't mean health-related agencies are going to stop trying improve the odds for residents to survive a heart attack, according to W. Logan Caldwell, a paramedic with Jamestown Area Ambulance Service.

The designation is made by the North Dakota Department of Health.

Jamestown met CPR guidelines for the Cardiac Ready Community with all police and fire department personnel certified in CPR, Caldwell said. In addition, between 15 percent and 20 percent of the rest of the community is either CPR certified or was in the past.

"Our goal is about 60 percent," he said.

The ultimate goal is not only to improve the odds of surviving a heart attack, but to reduce the damage if one occurs.

"Research has shown that a community can increase the survivability and chance of recovery of a cardiac event with preparedness," Caldwell said. "A lot has to do with making sure the community knows where AEDs are located and having CPR trained people."

AEDs, automated external defibrillators, can monitor the condition of the heart and provide an electrical charge to restart the heart in case of cardiac arrest. CPR can keep the blood moving and provide oxygen to the brain and other organs even when the heart has stopped.

Caldwell said every emergency vehicle in Jamestown has an AED. They are also in the process of documenting the locations of other AEDs in the community and integrating that information into the database of the Stutsman County Communications Center.

Kim Franklin, assistant Stutsman County emergency coordinator, said this would allow dispatchers to direct a 911 caller to the nearest AED in the event of a heart attack.

Increasing the number of people knowledgeable in CPR is critical in keeping people alive until an ambulance or other emergency service arrives.

Nationally, the average response time for an ambulance is about 10 minutes, Caldwell said. Jamestown, because of its size, has an average response time of between 5 and 6 minutes.

It is during that period of time that CPR is important.

"A lot of it is getting to them quickly," Caldwell said. "A lot of that happens (using CPR or an AED) before the ambulance arrives."

Another component of the Cardiac Ready Community designation is preventing heart disease, said Robin Iszler, unit administrator for Central Valley Health District.

"Central Valley Health District is doing a project in August during the (community) block party offering blood pressure screenings and cards to record blood pressures," she said.

Iszler said the goal is to make sure people know the signs and symptoms of heart disease, know to call 911 and know how to use an AED and perform CPR.

Caldwell said Jamestown joins Mayville, Valley City, New Rockford, Rugby and Powers Lake as Cardiac Ready communities.

"So far, we're the largest in the state," he said. "It's good for three years and during that time we're going to work on blood pressure and CPR."