July 03. 2013 3:01PM

Bedford deemed 'HeartSafe' by American Heart Association

By Kathy Remillard

Members of the Town Council, Bedford Fire Department and NH EMS show off a road sign that recognizes Bedford as a HeartSafe Community by the American Heart Association. (Kathy Remillard Photo)

Bedford will join the ranks of 19 other cities and towns that have been deemed “HeartSafe” communities by the American Heart Association.

The proclamation, presented by Heart Association staff at a Town Council meeting on June 26, means that those living in and passing through Bedford have an increased chance of surviving a cardiac event.

Representatives from the Heart Association and the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services presented town officials with a road sign to be placed at the town line that designates Bedford as a HeartSafe community.

The designation was made because of the number of CPR classes held, as well as the number and placement of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the community.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Mark Klose, one member of the Fire Department staff went to great lengths to see that the program was implemented – firefighter Jon Snow.

“Jon Snow gets all of the credit for making this happen,” Klose told Council members. “He took on this project and did it on his own.”

Klose said that while all new businesses in town are encouraged to have an AED on site, not all of them are inventoried, and Snow made it a priority to tally all of the AEDs in town.
“He’s done a superior job with this,” Klose said.

According to Nancy Vaughan, government relations director for the American Heart Association, four key elements are in the “Chain of Survival” that are key to the HeartSafe program, all of which minimize the damage in the case of a cardiac arrest: early access to emergency care, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care.

Fire Chief Scott Wiggin said that assisting those in cardiac arrest is not a task left just to Fire Department and EMS personnel.

“Everybody is involved,” Wiggin said. “It’s the efforts of everyone in a community.”
Bedford joins cities and towns such as Manchester, Concord, Goffstown, Derry, Milford and Henniker in the HeartSafe Community program.