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News Release    

June 5, 2009      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

CPR and AED Awareness Week
County Executive and Health Commissioner team up for recertification & awareness

Poughkeepsie… National CPR and AED Awareness Week is June 1st -7th.   To help spread the word to county residents about the importance of being trained to perform CPR and use an AED device, Duchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael C. Caldwell teamed up for a recertification class for CPR and AED use today at the Dutchess County Emergency Response Center in the Town of Hyde Park. 

“Taking a few hours out of the day for CPR and AED training provides the skills and confidence to potentially save the life of a family member or fellow resident,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “Being trained to perform CPR can the double the chance of survival for a victim of sudden cardiac arrest.”

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is the emergency technique used when a person’s heart and breathing have stopped.    It is a simple, easily learned emergency procedure of rescue breathing and chest compressions designed to keep an individual’s brain and heart supplied with blood and oxygen until medical help arrives.

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device that provides an electrical shock that can start the heart beating and restore normal heart rhythm.   AED devices are designed to be used by the public since it guides the user through the steps of defibrillation. The device recognizes life threatening heart rhythms and advises the user to shock or not shock the individual.

According to Dr. Michael Caldwell, “Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of more than 140 residents of Dutchess County each year.”    That is why in September 2007, Dutchess County Government became the first county government in the nation to launch the HEART Safe Community program, with the goal of improving the chances for anyone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest to have the best possible odds for survival. 

The HEART Safe Community program promotes the strategic placement of AEDs in the community and encourages community members to be trained in CPR.   To date, 27 municipalities, businesses and community organizations have been honored as HEART Safe.

By becoming a HEART Safe Community, an organization or business is recognized as having the ability to safe a life by rapidly performing the chain of survival consisting of four (4) links:

  • Early access to emergency care (dialing 911 immediately)
  • Early CPR to maintain blood flow to the brain
  • Early defibrillation to deliver a shock of electricity to restart the heart
  • Early advanced care administered by an emergency team at the scene who then transports the individual to the hospital

“Learning CPR and use of an AED can mean the difference between life and death.  By learning basic skills, people can go from being a helpless bystander to trained, empowered and prepared to take action during an emergency,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We encourage every community and organization to join us in our quest to make Dutchess County HEART Safe.”

For additional information on the Heart Safe program or CPR training log on to http://www.dutchessny.gov/ or call 845-486-3559.



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Last Updated: 6/8/2009