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Eagle County Paramedic Services (ECPS) and Starting Hearts are excited to announce the completion of a Strategic Alliance Agreement geared toward improving the outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest victims. Starting Hearts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Avon, CO, is dedicated to saving the lives of Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims through free CPR training and defibrillator access programs. ECPS has been purchasing and supporting public access external defibrillators (DEFIBs) in Eagle County since the early 1990s.

“We are so excited to partner with Eagle County Paramedic Services,” stated Lynn Blake, founder of Starting Hearts and a sudden cardiac arrest survivor.  “I owe my life to ECPS who responded to my cardiac arrest, and I could not be more pleased than to deepen our working relationship to save the lives of others.  We will do our very best to improve outcomes and make Eagle County a model for the nation.”

This new agreement calls for the creation of a sustainable program that will benefit the community in many ways. For example, it will expand education of citizen first responders in lifesaving CPR and defibrillation skills. Early CPR and DEFIB use are an important link in the chain of survival and are proven to increase dramatically the survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest.   When seconds count, being able to locate and access the nearest DEFIB is just as critical as knowing how to use one properly. Through this program, there will be expanded placement of DEFIBs with training to insure proper operation of defibrillators in public locations throughout the county.

Currently, there is no good way to track data on outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest events in Eagle County. This partnership will develop a way to track data in order to enhance infrastructure, systems, and procedures, all of which will help raise survival rates in Eagle County.   Starting Hearts and ECPS began participation in the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival, or CARES,  (www.mycares.net) project in January of this year. This national project strives to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest through a standardized data collection system.  The two organizations also will work together to manage an ongoing outreach and communication program to increase public awareness, including events, press releases, newspaper articles, interviews in major media, social networking, presentations to government and public agencies, and related activities.

“Starting Hearts has shown our community that they are a great partner and want to save lives with education and DEFIB placement,” stated Christopher Montera, CEO of Eagle County Paramedic Services. He continued, “Our partnership with Starting Hearts is another way we are finding efficiencies and saving tax dollars while providing a valuable service.”

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