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News Release    

February 17, 2010      

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

County Executive Steinhaus Presents First Municipality Wide HEART Safe Community to Town and Village of Rhinebeck

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Commissioner of Health Michael C. Caldwell presented the three newest HEART Safe Community designations today at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, including Dutchess County’s first two municipality wide HEART Safe designations for the Town and Village of Rhinebeck.

“Congratulations to both the Town and Village of Rhinebeck on becoming Dutchess County’s first municipalities to have earned the HEART Safe Community for their entire geographic area,    demonstrating how much they care about their residents, their visitors and their residents,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We encourage every municipality to take the steps to become HEART Safe.   Making sure employees are trained in CPR and having Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available can make a life saving difference in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.”

Since Dutchess County’s HEART Safe Communities program was first launched in 2007, more than 40 community and municipal organizations have taken the simple steps to become HEART Safe.    While there are several municipal departments or buildings that have qualified as HEART Safe, the Town and Village of Rhinebeck are the only municipalities that can say they are HEART Safe from border to border.

For a municipality to earn a HEART Safe Community designation, the following criteria must be met:

  • At least 25% of municipality owned buildings have AEDs available with proper signage.
  • At least 25% of municipal employees have current CPR training.
  • At least 25% of restaurants within the municipal borders have CPR kits.

The Village of Rhinebeck Police Department was also honored with a HEART Safe Community designation at this morning’s event.     County Executive Steinhaus also recognized the work of the Rhinebeck Heart Safe Club, whose mission is to promote CPR/AED awareness and provide CPR and AED instruction in the community.   The Rhinebeck Heart Safe Club worked to assist both the Town and Village of Rhinebeck to earn the Dutchess County HEART Safe designation.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Dutchess County with more than 140 residents in Dutchess County who die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest.   In the event of cardiac arrest; the sooner CPR and defibrillation are provided, the better the chances of survival.

The goal of the HEART Safe Community program is to improve the chances for anyone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest to have the best possible odds for survival.  Dutchess County’s program recognizes and honors the efforts of organizations who have met specific criteria in an effort to potentially save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims through the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and increased public access to defibrillation devices.

The Dutchess County Department of Health has a HEART Safe Committee that is available to work with municipalities to provide technical assistance and guidance to help them meet the application criteria.

“It is an easy process to become a HEART Safe Community,” said Dr. Caldwell.  “Our team is here to guide your organization through the process quickly and easily.   I hope all residents will encourage their own municipality to become HEART Safe.  A few simple steps could mean a life is saved.”

Organizations, businesses, municipalities and others who would like to be considered as a HEART Safe Community can log onto  for additional information and to obtain an application.


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