Mar 20, 2018
Russ Carlson, Norm Okerstrom
Heart Safe Plymouth

HEARTSafe Communities is a program designed to promote survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. It is a general concept focused upon strengthening the “chain of survival” as described by the American Heart Association; it recognizes and stimulates efforts by individual communities to improve their system for preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) from becoming irreversible death.

In the basic HEARTSafe model, a region (generally a US state, but county-based and international programs also exist) establishes a set of minimum criteria its communities must meet in order to achieve HEARTSafe status. These should be goals that support the chain of survival, such as widespread CPR instruction, public access defibrillators, and aggressive resuscitation protocols for first responders and area hospitals. Individual communities in each region which meet the established criteria—such as cities, towns, counties, even neighborhoods or campuses—can apply to their home office and become designated as a HEARTSafe Community. Street signs proclaiming this status are usually posted at the edge of town. If a community does not meet minimum criteria, it can take steps to work toward compliance and eventually earn accreditation.