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Barton Foundation Introduces Heart Safe Community Program

(South Lake Tahoe, CA) – The Heart Safe Community program, sponsored by the Barton Foundation, is a community-wide effort aimed at educating citizens on the dangers of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The Heart Safe Community program is based on strategic placement of and easy access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public gathering spots throughout the South shore of Lake Tahoe. 

According to facts published by the American Heart Association, each year in the U.S., there are over 359,000 Emergency Medical Services (EMS)-assessed cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting. Tragically, less than 10% of victims survive. Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include CPR and AED training for community members have achieved survival rates of nearly 40% for cardiac arrest victims.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and cardiac arrest;  community members are a vital link in the chain of survival,” said Chris Kiser, Barton Foundation Executive Director. “Lives will be saved if people are educated on how to recognize symptoms, and more importantly, how to act on those symptoms prior to the arrival of first responders.”

Manufactured by Zoll, the AEDs are available through the Barton Foundation for a tax- deductible donation of $1,800. Each AED comes with a metal case for wall mounting. Free CPR training through Barton Education and detailed instructions on using AEDs are included with the program.

There are two ways to participate in the Heart Safe Community initiative: AEDs may be purchased directly through the program to be used at an establishment or gifted to local organizations; or donors may contribute to the Barton Foundation’s Heart Safe Community fund, which will be used to purchase AEDs in the community.

“We envision AEDs placed where our community gathers – grocery stores, retail outlets, churches, schools, golf courses, sports fields, marinas, beaches, restaurants – anybody can use one, and the more that are available, the more opportunities there are to save lives,” said Kiser. 

The AEDs are user-friendly and safe to use. Once deployed, the device uses audio instructions in both English and Spanish, to “talk” the person through the process with step-by-step directions. The AEDs also include a “child mode” for pediatric rescue.

For additional details on the Heart Safe Community program and ways to donate, contact Chris Kiser at the Barton Foundation by calling 530-543-5612 or visit bartonhealth.org/foundation.