Organizers of the Heart Safe initiative in Coon Rapids want to get more businesses in the city on board.
A letter has been sent to all business in Coon Rapids urging them to become part of the program.
Organizers Bryan Platz, Coon Rapids Police officer; Nick House, Coon Rapids firefighter; and Paul Mendoza, Coon Rapids resident and paramedic, list three areas in which businesses can be involved.
• Participate in Heart Safe Coon Rapids’ free bystander CPR and automatic external defibrillator training.
• Allow the public to use an AED at a place of business if needed in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency.
• Purchase an AED if the business does not have one already.
“As a Coon Rapids business, you have a unique opportunity to help save lives in our community,” the letters states.
To date, 74 of the city’s 640 local businesses have installed AEDs in their businesses for public use and have trained their employees, Platz said.
The goal of the program is to make Coon Rapids a Heart Safe community, the first in Anoka County.
According to the letter, being a Heart Safe community would mean that Coon Rapids would be considered a place where people have an increased chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
“This will help protect the people that reside, work and play here… your employees and customers,” the letter states.
The Heart Safe Coon Rapids project is a grass roots effort being led by several people in the community and is supported by the Coon Rapids City Council.
The program educates the community about sudden cardiac arrest and helps train the public in CPR and AED use.
AEDs are the only tool that can help restore a normal heart rhythm to someone who suffers sudden cardiac arrest, according to the letter.
Sudden cardiac arrest affects about 1,000 people each day in the United States and almost all of them die, making sudden cardiac arrest one of the leading causes of death, the letter states.
“While the statistics are grim, the chance of survival can go up dramatically if the victim gets the proper care within the first two minutes,” it states.
“If the sudden cardiac arrest victim receives quality CPR and defibrillation with an AED within the first two minutes of sudden cardiac arrest, the chance of survival can reach 85 percent.
“Emergency responders are only one piece of the survival puzzle; the public must know how to get involved and help the victim of sudden cardiac arrest in those precious first two minutes while waiting for responders to arrive.”
Through community education, bystander CPR training (chest compressions only) and easy access to AEDs (meaning more AEDs are readily available in the community), sudden cardiac arrest victims can have a better chance of survival, according to Platz, House and Mendoza.
“Our program is working to make this a reality,” they state in the letter.
“Together, we can make Coon Rapids a safer place to survive sudden cardiac arrest.”
The Heart Safe Coon Rapids project has secured discounted AED pricing through three distributors for businesses who wish to purchase an AED.
For more information, email [email protected] More information about the program can also be found at www.coonrapidsmn.gov.
Peter Bodley is at