East Bethel earns Heart Safe designation

Brian Platz, of the Coon Rapids Heart Safe program, presented East Bethel Firefighter Troy Lachinski and East Bethel Mayor Steve Voss the Heart Safe designation award at the Nov. 18 East Bethel City Council meeting. He also presented them with two Minnesota Department of Transportation approved street signs with the program’s logo on it.

According to Platz, East Bethel is now one of 35 cities in Minnesota that hold this designation. Others include Coon Rapids, Hugo and Gem Lake. “As a council you should commend yourself, pat yourselves on the back. This is a legacy that you guys are leaving behind for your city and this legacy will be here far when you guys are out of office,” he said.

Dr. Charlie Lick, Medical Director for Allina Emergency Medical Services explained about the importance of this program. “Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a huge problem in this country,” he said. “It strikes over 400,000 people in our hospital. The average survival rate is dismal at only about 5 percent.”

“Through the  work of Troy, Brian and a lot of other people, I’m happy to say that Minnesota has some of the highest resuscitation rates in the country – almost triple that national average,” Lick added.

According to a document on the Minnesota Department of Health about the project, the mission of the Heart Safe Community Designation is to help communities evaluate their readiness for cardiac events. It includes evaluation, planning and development of new awareness, CPR & AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training and AED location identification.

Lachinski provided background about the city’s involvement in the program. He said that it is designed to help communities be safer for residents, people who live and work there. One way to do that is to train people how to do bystander CPR and use AEDs, as well as to ensure they’re maintained properly. The original goal was to train five percent of East Bethel’s population. They’ve trained 7.7 percent, or 934, people. Lachinski said he hopes to continue training five percent more of the population and to help start Heart Safe programs in Bethel and St. Francis.

In celebration of the designation, Heart Safe East Bethel donated an AED which was to be put in the City Hall’s hallway.

Lachinski also showed the council something called the savior coin. It’s given to someone in the Heart Safe community who uses CPR and brings them back to life. “I won’t feel our program is 100 percent successful until I’m able to award one of these,” he said.