Calais Fire-EMS Receives Gold HeartSafe Award

Firefighter and paramedic Robert Peterson holds the Calais Fire-EMS Department's HeartSafe award. The department received gold recognition for its efforts in improving cardiovascular health and safety in the area. (Submitted photo)

The Calais Fire-EMS Service has received a Gold HeartSafe designation for its work in improving cardiovascular health and safety access. The Maine HeartSafe Community program is a cooperative initiative of the Maine Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Office and the Maine Cardiovascular Health Council. The program recognizes local efforts made to provide strong cardiovascular-related emergency care for residents and visitors, and promotes partnership between local EMS services and community partners to improve overall cardiovascular health and awareness.

 “We are both proud and excited to be able to offer this to our community,” said Robert Peterson, a firefighter and paramedic with Calais Fire-EMS. “This award was made possible by the crew at Calais Fire-EMS. They dedicated countless hours of training, both in house and in the community, that allow us to share this award with you, the citizens.”

 The HeartSafe Community designation is based on what the American Heart Association calls the “Chain of Survival.” The four components of the Chain of Survival include early access to emergency care, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care. To receive a HeartSafe honor, cities and towns are awarded points, called “heartbeats,” based on their ability to meet program criteria. Program criteria include CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training for community members; public education and awareness of the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke; EMS first response vehicles equipped with AEDs; public AED placement and training; Advanced Life Support dispatched as primary or backup responders for all medical emergencies; and an ongoing evaluation of the community’s Chain of Survival.

 So far, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Basic designations have been awarded to 91 EMS services, covering 300+ communities in Maine, and more than 1,047,592 residents. Calais Fire-EMS has been awarded a gold level HeartSafe award.

 Through the safety measures of the Chain of Survival, we can improve the survival rate for cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke victims. Measures such as early CPR and increased access to defibrillation make a tremendous difference in survival and recovery outcomes.                                                           


 Heart disease and stroke account for one in three deaths in Maine. To increase survival and improve outcomes associated with these cardiovascular events, HeartSafe Communities are enhancing their emergency response capacity and increasing public recognition of the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke and promoting the importance of calling 911 immediately.