The Verdant Health Commission awarded the Lynnwood Fire Department, in partnership with Snohomish County Fire District #1, the Mukilteo Fire Department and Swedish Edmonds Emergency Department, a grant to enhance two critical components of the Emergency Cardiac Care System for the residents of South Snohomish County.
Lynnwood will administer the grant which will provide all regional paramedic units with advanced electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission devices and local communities with “heat attack awareness” education. The intent of this combined program is to shorten the time from the onset of heart attack symptoms to life saving treatment at the hospital.
Heart attack studies have demonstrated a correlation between early treatment and heart attack survival. Today, the Washington State Department of Health’s Cardiac and Stroke Care Technical Advisory Committee recommends that paramedics quickly acquire an ECG, transmit and interpret the reading, and transport within 15 minutes.
With new transmitting technology, paramedics can rapidly obtain a diagnostic quality ECG and forward it to multiple members of the cardiac care team within minutes of arriving at the patient’s side. A combination of ‘single button’ technology and teamwork will allow paramedics and firefighters in South Snohomish County to meet the recommended on-scene time objectives and shorten time to treatment.
However, the best emergencycardiac care system starts on the phone with early activation of the emergency medical system (EMS). Surprisingly, only 40 percent of heart attack patients call 911. Even with evidence that supports calling 911 early, many patients drive themselves to the hospital or delay seeking treatment because they do not recognize the symptoms. In recent years, many deadly accidents have occurred as a result of heart attack patients attempting to drive to the hospital. Statistically, many heart attack patients never reach the hospital alive.
To help people recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and to understand the importance of calling 911, firefighters, paramedics and public educators will provide a series of heart attack awareness classes in 2013.