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Gallatin Heart Rescue Celebrates Successes of Unsung Heroes Performing Hands Only CPR

February 5, 2014

What began two years ago as a local effort to help heart attack victims survive while waiting for medical attention has grown into a state-wide program in which 12,000 individuals have been taught to perform the life-saving technique of Hands Only CPR.

Gallatin Heart Rescue (GHR) will celebrate its second anniversary on Friday, February 14 at 10 am in the Bozeman Deaconess Health Services Upper Level Atrium. At the event, to which the public is invited, GHR will donate six AEDs (automatic electronic defibrillators) to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s and Bozeman and Manhattan Police departments, in its continuing efforts to save the lives of those suffering sudden cardiac arrest. They also will celebrate the unsung and often anonymous heroes who have used the technique to save the lives of strangers.

“The critical first step to increasing survival is recognizing cardiac arrest and reacting appropriately, since a cardiac arrest victim is twice as likely to live when bystanders give CPR,” said Kevin Lauer, co-founder of Gallatin Heart Rescue who also is an EMT with American Medical Response, the ambulance service that works with Bozeman Deaconess. “Nationwide, only about 6% of cardiac arrest victims survive, because most didn’t receive CPR prior to the arrival of a 911 responder. But in just one year our survivability jumped from 6% to 17% overall in Gallatin County.”
Gallatin Heart Rescue, a partnership among Bozeman Deaconess Health Services, American Medical Response (AMR), Absaroka Emergency Physicians, and Gallatin County Law Enforcement & Fire Agencies, has been awarded an American Ambulance Star of Life Award, along with the Local Hero Award and Community First Award. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Cardiopulmonary Health Department, named GHR a state program.

“Our original cache of ten ‘CPR in a Box’ totes has now grown to 24 in Gallatin County and 60 throughout the state,” Lauer said. “This means we have 600 mannequins and more than one hundred facilitators now teaching our program, including staff at Bozeman Deaconess Cardiac Pulmonary Rehabilitation. We also have assisted AMR operations and other organizations in ten other states develop similar programs in their areas.”

Adult Hands-Only CPR can be taught in 45 minutes and does not require mouth-to-mouth breathing. Local businesses now using GHR’s program as part of their annual safety program include Billion Auto Group, Simkins-Hallin Lumber, Kenyon Noble Lumber and Hardware, Zoot Enterprises, Murdoch's Ranch and Home and local banks. GHR also teaches the procedure in many schools and Scouting programs throughout the State.

For more information, please visit bozemandeaconess.org/events or gallatinheartrescue.com.
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