County recognized by American Heart Association

St. Johns County Fire Rescue Center
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners received a plaque from the American Heart Association in recognition of being named a “Heart Ready County” according to a media advisory received this afternoon by Historic City News.

St. Johns County met the criteria to become a Heart Ready County through a variety of life-saving steps, including having AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) machines in County buildings, training approximately fifty percent of staff to use the AED machines, staffing emergency fire engines and ambulances with trained paramedics, and working with the community to register all AED machines with the 911 dispatch office, among several others.

The American Heart Association spoke highly of St. Johns County’s program. Amanda Skinner of the American Heart Association presented the award and said, “You have an outstanding program. Thank you for strengthening the Chain of Survival and ensuring that the residents of St. Johns County have the best possible chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest.”

An AED machine allows non-medical personnel to save lives by administering an electric shock to someone suffering from cardiac arrest. St. Johns County currently has 78 AED machines located in 58 locations, with at least thirty percent of the staff at each location trained to use them. In addition to the County as a whole being recognized by the American Heart Association, each of the 58 County facilities will also receive a Heart Safe Community Award.

St. Johns County instituted its Heart Ready Program in 2006. Since that time, Program Coordinator Amy Reichert has trained more than 600 County employees to use AED machines and arranged for machines to be placed in 58 County facilities. Reichert also works closely with the American Heart Association for on-going training, as well as businesses and community organizations to help them develop similar programs and obtain a life-saving AED machine for their properties.

You can receive more information about AED machines and becoming heart ready by contacting Amy Reichert in the St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department at 209-1733.

Photo credit: Historic City Media News Photographer Kerry McGuire