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American Heart Association honors Marble Falls EMS for heart attack response


MARBLE FALLS — When dialing 9-1-1 in the event of heart attack, residents should know they are in good hands when Marble Falls Area EMS paramedics arrive.

The American Heart Association recently honored the local EMS outfit with its Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award for using procedures and equipment when treating people who are experiencing severe heart attacks — particularly ones caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart.

Marble Falls Area EMS operations director Kevin Naumann said the unit submitted response and patient-care data over a year period to the American Heart Association. The AHA looked at the data and compared it against a set of standards and areas reflecting the treatment of these types of heart attacks before recognizing the local department with the Silver Award.

The Silver Award is the highest honor Marble Falls Area EMS could earn this time, but Naumann said if the department meets the standards in back-to-back years, it could mean the Gold Award.

It’s not about awards or honors, Naumann pointed out, but what it says about Marble Falls Area EMS’s commitment to the community and patients.

“We’re also excited about what this means for the community,” he said. “This basically says our community can be secure in knowing that our responders are trained well; we have state-of-the-art equipment; and we’re making good decisions for the patient.”

The AHA honor looked at how EMS departments handled STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attacks, which is caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart. Officials said if this particular heart attack isn’t handled quickly and properly to restore blood flow, then death is very possible.

Naumann explained that Marble Falls paramedics have the training, follow the proper protocol and use the proper equipment to identify this type of heart attack before starting treatment and transporting the person to the appropriate hospital.

One of the key pieces of equipment Marble Falls medics use is the 12-lead ECG machine.

Once medics determine the type of heart attack, Naumann said they begin immediately treating the patient for it.

All this boils down to getting the right training, he added. Marble Falls Area EMS continuously keeps the medics trained on the latest protocols and equipment.

Naumann said the community helps with the training by participating in the two semi-annual fish fry fundraisers at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls and through regular donations.

“We’re blessed to be in this community,” he added.

Staff writer Connie Swinney contributed to this article.