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Press Release

Health Officials, Community Join Forces to Prevent Cardiovascular Death

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

There will be plenty of heart thumping this Valentine's Day—and with good reason, as emergency medical staff and HeartSafe Community Partners set out to teach CPR and ask the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to share a heartfelt message that could save lives.

To help with its HeartSafe Community public awareness campaign, the Emergency Medical Services Division of Contra Costa Health Services will teach the new Hands Only CPR to passersby and distribute new materials, including posters and wallet cards, at the Board of Supervisors meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 14 at 651 Pine Street in Martinez. The Board is expected to proclaim February as American Heart Month.

The campaign urges people to Act in Time when they witness a heart emergency, such as heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac arrest. "We want people to recognize the signs of these emergencies and know what to do," said EMS Prehospital Care Coordinator Pam Dodson, who runs the HeartSafe Community campaign in Contra Costa. "The simple act of carrying a wallet card or hanging a poster can help increase survival when minutes can mean life or death."

Heart disease remains one of the top killers in Contra Costa, according to EMS Medical Director Dr. Joseph Barger. He said cardiovascular events can rapidly destroy heart muscle or brain tissue, with lasting consequences.

The HeartSafe Community campaign, which launched in 2009, recognizes communities that meet criteria to improve cardiovascular health and decrease death and disability associated with heart disease. So far in Contra Costa, El Cerrito and San Ramon Valley communities have earned the designation. EMS Director Patricia Frost said the HeartSafe Community campaign makes cities "a safer place to live, work and play."

To find out more about the HeartSafe Community campaign or to download materials, visit

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Press Contact
  • Oliver Symonds
  • Community & Media Relations Specialist
  • 925-313-6832 or 925-383-8845 (cell)