Local Donates Heart Health for Heart Month

Local Donates Heart Health for Heart Month


Leaving several thousand dollars behind in Las Vegas can be a painful experience. But in my case, I ended up far richer and better informed than when I arrived. What I learned prompted me to donate two Automated Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) to the Alameda Boy Scout Council and Girls Inc. of the Island City.

I had the privilege of meeting with two dozen professional rescuers from throughout the United States — three who were survivors of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) —that all have dedicated their lives to saving others.

February is National Heart Month and the speakers who had survived SCA were sharing their stories of being rescued by AEDs. A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a conference on AEDs, as I have been involved in training professional rescuers, firefighters, police and civilians in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AEDs since I served as a director of pre-hospital care and as a Police Emergency Medical Technician in Los Angeles. I thought I knew everything about AEDs, and I was shocked to learn the realities. 

Few know the difference between a heart attack and SCA. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked or interrupted and causes destruction of heart tissue and often results in pain, discomfort, dizziness and other symptoms. SCA happens when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops beating normally and stops pumping blood, often with no warning at all. SCA strikes about 400,000 people in the United States every year, including more than 9,000 youth at middle schools and high schools. That is like two 747s crashing into each other every day of the year, but the quick use of CPR and an AED can save lives.

Dr. James Francis “Frank” Pantridge served with the British Military during World War II, and is known worldwide as the “Father of Emergency Medicine.” Pantridge developed the first portable defibrillator and installed it in a Belfast ambulance. The first “portable AED” weighed 70 kilograms and was operated by car batteries. Today portable AEDs weigh less than 3 pounds and cost about $1,500.

I am glad that Doctor Pantridge devoted his life to emergency medicine, as did the three members of the small conference I attended a few weeks ago. The conference consisted of 23 paramedics, emergency medical technicians and one nurse. One of the presenters had collapsed in SCA at 40 years old. He was in good health, had regular check ups but his heart’s electrical system malfunctioned. He collapsed without warning. His life was saved by the timely use of an AED and CPR.

The members of the conference had responded to many cardiac incidents including SCA. One of the paramedics had responded to the recent Carrie Fisher medical emergency in Los Angeles. He and his partner were the first medical professionals at the scene.

I encourage everyone to support heart health and wear red tomorrow to show your colors in the fight against heart disease, stroke and related heart issues. I also encourage you to learn CPR and  AED use and do all you can to be heart healthy this monty and throughout your lives.



Randy Lantz is the owner of Coolsafety. He can be reached at coolsafety@yahoo.com.