Posted on 09/26/2007

September 26, 2007–POUGHKEEPSIE, NY–Dutchess County launched its new HEART Safe initiative Tuesday, aiming to prevent deaths from cardiac arrest in businesses, schools and communities around the county.

The program is typically taken on by an entire state, (e.g., Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) but Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus believes that if the county starts its own initiative, other counties and maybe even New York state government will follow.

“Dutchess County is the first county in the nation to initiate the HEART Safe program,” noted Steinhaus. “We want to encourage every organization in the county to take these important steps to become a HEART Safe community.”

The initiative recognizes and honors the efforts of schools, organizations, and communities that have taken steps to potentially save the lives of cardiac arrest victims by using CPR, and increasing public access to defibrillation devices.

Linda Cotter-Forbes’ daughter Kaitlin’s life was saved by CPR and a defibrillator two years ago after she fainted in gym class. The Rhinebeck woman attributed the life-saving effort to the two procedures. 

“May 11, 2005, Kaitlin had an opportunity,” Linda said during a news conference held at the Culinary Institute of America.  “It was an opportunity she had because she was in a New York State public school which required AED’s (automated external defibrillators).  It’s an opportunity that I hope because of this initiative people will have throughout Dutchess County.”

County Commissioner of Health Michael Caldwell said he hopes the program will be self-promoting in the sense that businesses will catch when they see their colleagues becoming HEART safe organizations.

They want to make sure that “people get inspired” by their colleagues signing up as a Heart Safe community.

Download HEART Safe PDF

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