Life saving record earns city 'HeartSafe' designation

LACONIA — This week the city became the 21st municipality in New Hampshire to be designated a "HeartSafe" community by the American Heart Association (AHA) in recognition of its Fire Department's record of saving the lives of one in every four victims of cardiac events, a rate almost five times the state average.
Accepting the award at the City Council meeting Monday night, Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Riley cited the close relationship between the department and LRGHealthcare and the efforts of firefighters and EMTs while expressing appreciation to those bystanders who have assisted emergency personnel and the councilors for funding the purchase of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Nancy Vaughan, director of government relations of the AHA, explained that the program seeks to encourage municipalities to forge what the organization calls the "Chain of Survival" by providing access to emergency care, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation and advanced care all in a timely fashion. She noted that each passing minute diminishes the chance of survival by 10 percent. Designation is awarded by points — called "HeartBeats" — earned by providing CPR and AED instruction and distributing AEDs.
Riley said that 57 AEDs have been placed in public and private facilities throughout the city and, in addition, Lucas 2 devices, which administer CPR automatically, are deployed at the Central and Weirs Beach stations.
Riley told the council that just hours before the meeting a 48 year-old man went into cardiac arrest at Weirs Beach. The 911 dispatcher coached one of his fellow employees through CPR until firefighters Jess Desrosiers, Dave Monasky and Jay Ellingson arrived from the Weirs Beach station together with Officer Ben Black of the Laconia Police Department and Don Doucette, an off-duty firefighter. Riley said that CPR was continued with the Lucas 2 device. "He was talking to us by the time he left ," said Riley, "and we expect he will fully recover."
"If something happens to me," said Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5), who was serving as mayor pro-tem in the absence of Mayor Mike Seymour, "I hope I'm in Laconia."

CAPTION: Standing with the sign marking Laconia as a "HeartSafe" community are, from left to right, Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Riley, Chip Cooper, deputy chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of EMS, firefighter Jay Ellingson, Lieutenant Jeff Desrosiers, firefighters Dave Monasky and Jason Griffin and Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5). (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)