Published September 3 2021
When someone has a severe heart attack, small details in their care can make a big difference. Bellevue firefighter/paramedics and emergency medical technicians have received an American Heart Association award for protocols that ensure rapid, life-saving treatment.
The Bellevue Fire Department is the first agency in King County to earn the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Silver Plus Achievement Award. Bellevue paramedics and EMTs are trained to quickly identify signs of a severe heart attack and perform and send electrocardiograms to ER doctors while en route to the hospital.
“I’m very proud of our medics,” Fire Chief Jay Hagen said Wednesday. “When seconds can mean the difference between life and death, they do the little things to ensure speedy, life-saving treatment.”
Each year, more than 250,000 Americans have a severe heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart. Doctors work to restore blood flow by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or providing clot-busting medication, but crucial time is saved if they receive key information before the patient even arrives.
Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination between hospitals, emergency dispatch and paramedics, according to the American Heart Association. In Bellevue’s case, NORCOM dispatch and local hospitals are key partners.
The Bellevue Fire Department serves residents of Bellevue, as well as the neighboring communities of Newcastle, Clyde Hill, Medina, Hunts Point, Beaux Arts and Yarrow Point.