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Gallatin Heart Rescue Celebrates Milestone

February 8, 2013

When a 23-year-old local woman suffered a heart attack last December, her survival depended on a Bozeman policeman. Fortunately, he had recently been trained in Adult Hands-Only CPR, which helped save her life.

The officer benefitted from the efforts of Gallatin Heart Rescue Project, which successfully reached its goal of training 5,000 citizens from all walks of life in the life-saving procedure in just one year. Gallatin Heart Rescue will observe its first anniversary with a public celebration on February 14, 10 am at Bozeman Deaconess Health Services in the Upper Level Atrium. The public is invited to attend.

“The critical first step to increasing survival is recognizing cardiac arrest and reacting appropriately,” said Kevin Lauer, co-founder of Gallatin Heart Rescue. “Nationwide, only about 35% of cardiac arrest victims receive any CPR prior to the arrival of a 911 responder. We wanted to change that, and increase a person’s chances of survival, since a cardiac arrest victim is twice as likely to live when bystanders give CPR. Adult Hands-Only CPR can be taught in 30 minutes and does not require mouth-to-mouth breathing.”

Lauer knows the situation firsthand, as an EMT with American Medical Response, the ambulance service that works with Bozeman Deaconess. That’s why he worked with hospital staff, Absaroka Emergency Physicians and Gallatin County Law Enforcement and Fire Agencies to initiate the Project.

Since start-up, the program has expanded to communities across Montana and 11 other states, with more requests for training every day. Now, Gallatin Heart Rescue is expanding its lifesaving efforts through the purchase of five AEDs (automatic electronic defibrillators) that will be donated to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s and Bozeman Police departments during the Valentine’s Day event.

“Eventually, we want to see an AED in every vehicle in the county,” Lauer said. “And we will continue to offer Hands-Only training until everyone knows how to make the initial response to a heart attack.”
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