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Lake County earns second 'heart ready' award

RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2006

TAVARES — The American Heart Association (AHA) announced Tuesday, Aug. 15, that Lake County is a “Heart Ready County” by presenting an award to the Board of County Commissioners.

Heart Ready County
Lake County received the “heart ready” award from the American Heart Association. From left to right, Jack Fillman, Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Administration, Lake County Commissioner Catherine Hanson, Jim Judge, Executive Director of Lake-Sumter EMS, and Nancy DeVault of the American Heart Association.
It is the second year in a row Lake County has received the honor. Lake County is one of 15 of the 67 Florida counties to be honored with the award. According to the AHA, a “Heart Ready County” excels in placing and tracking automated external defibrillators (AEDs), providing CPR training to County employees, having enhanced 9-1-1 and utilizing an emergency medical dispatch system.

“This is a great job by the Department of Public Safety and Lake-Sumter EMS,” said Lake County Commissioner Catherine Hanson. “I think it speaks how much the people in Lake County want to save lives.”

According to Jack Fillman, Lake County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Administration, one of the reasons Lake County was able to secure the “Heart Ready Award” was because of the aggressive public access defibrillator program.

An AED is a small, lightweight device that measures a person's heart rhythm (through special pads placed on the torso) and can recognize ventricular fibrillation, a lethal dysrhythmia found in "sudden cardiac arrest." If ventricular fibrillation is present, an AED will advise, and will talk the responder through some very simple steps to defibrillate.

Due to a decrease in cost over the past few years and change in state law, many organizations are purchasing AEDs for their communities. The Lake County Fire Rescue Division has assisted many groups in the County, including the neighborhoods of Plantation, Royal Highlands, Pennbrooke Fairways, Sun Lake, Town of Montverde and Harbor Hills, with purchasing and training community members on the AEDs.

“We send our firefighters out to train the residents of these communities,” Fillman said. “But we just don’t teach people about AEDs, we teach them CPR and how to properly use the AED.”

Along with training thousands of people over the last four years in CPR and AED, the Lake County Fire Rescue Division has also trained numerous County employees. For more information about the Lake County Fire Rescue Division public access defibrillator program that is open to community groups and private businesses, call (352) 343-9458. 


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Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445

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