International Association of Fire Chiefs, Emergency Medical Section and
Physio-Control, Inc. have awarded us with the 2009
Heart Safe Community Award PAD Program, Small Community.
Since 2001, the IAFC EMS had been recognizing fire service-based organizations
that have used creative approaches to implement or maintain public access
defibrillation programs within the communities they serve.
On May 5, 2009, the Board of Heart Safe La
Plata attended the Fire Rescue-Med conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to receive
their award. Scott Sholes described our program this way:
of us in EMS often see our communities from a different perspective
than the average citizen. We experience the realities of drug and alcohol
abuse, family violence, seatbelt use, which intersections are the most
dangerous, where the pedestrians get hit. And we also understand the
limitations of our own EMS systems.
I believe successful PAD programs depend
very much on our ability to get community members to see sudden cardiac
arrest from our perspective. In fact, we often have the uncomfortable
task of exchanging the public's expectations for reality. This includes
the fact that we simply cannot do this without them.
For this reason, this award is not about
Heart Safe La Plata, or Durango Fire & Rescue, Upper Pine River
Fire, Los Pinos Fire, Fort Lewis Mesa Fire. This award is about an entire
communitythe agencies, businesses, and individuals alikeembracing
the program and committing to saving lives by working together.
Without the stunning response by the Durango
area community, this hard working board here with me could not be successful.
I would like to tell you about two areas in which our community really
took us by surprise.
First has been our ability to cover multiple
addresses with each AED placed. As we began entering addresses into
our dispatch CAD system, community members asked us to
allow them to respond to their neighbors. That grew into
system in which 200 AEDs cover around 11 hundred addresses
in the CAD system, and that's not to mention the roving units such as
with law enforcement, and various industry vehicles.
The second surprise was our success in
gaining financial buy-in for every unit placedeven when using
grant funds. I can tell you, we've certainly had to work harder when
asking for at least half the cost of each unit, but we've been able
to place twice the number of units for the money and created a more
lasting and sustainable program. Today, every location has trained and
committed citizen responders.
On behalf of a very honored Heart Safe La Plata Board, La Plata County's
Fire Agencies and EMS Council and the community of Durango
Colorado, we thank the IAFC EMS Section and Physio-Control for this recognition.