Heart Safe Communities

Man Running with AEDSudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen without warning -- anywhere, at anytime, to anyone. And it is almost always fatal. SCA affects 4,000 Minnesotans annually, including 48 young adults and youth.  For every 100 victims who arrive in the emergency room in cardiac arrest and have been treated with CPR:

  • 95 victims die
  • 2-3 victims survive a few days
  • 1-2 victims have a chance of full recovery

The purpose of North Memorial's Heart Safe Communities Program is to make the community a safer place to live, work and play by placing public access automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the community.

Through early recognition of cardiac arrest, early 911 activation and early delivery of CPR and defibrillation, lives can be saved. Waiting for 911 to defibrillate results in death 96 percent of the time. When a lay rescuer uses a public access AED within the first two minutes of the cardiac arrest, there is an 85 percent success rate.

Help Your Community Obtain Heart Safe Designation 

Community education can significantly increase cardiac arrest survival. People in your community need to know how common cardiac arrest is and that there are rarely warning signs. Through North Memorial's Heart Safe Communities Program, communities can strengthen what the American Heart Association calls the "Chain of Survival", which has five basic links:

  • Early access to care - calling 911
  • Early CPR encouraging widespread bystander CPR training to increase immediate action
  • Early defibrillation - AEDs in public locations and individuals trained to use them
  • Early advanced care - the quick arrival of ALS Ambulance service to continue care
  • Post-cardiac arrest care

Heart Safe designation recognizes a city's efforts to prepare its staff and citizens to recognize when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest and how to respond. Any municipality, county or organization in Minnesota or western Wisconsin can apply for Heart Safe designation.