Last week, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) earned the American Heart Association’s “Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Plus Award” for 2020 for its response measures during cardiac emergencies. HCDFRS was the first in Maryland to receive a Mission: Lifeline® EMS award in 2017 and was awarded the “Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award” each year from 2017 to 2019.
“Our Fire and Rescue employees are the very best at what they do, and this award reflects their dedication and hard work to improve and save lives,” said County Executive Ball. “Our EMS staff protect and serve our community every day. It is a great comfort to know they are available with life-saving skills, resources, and efficiency whenever medical care is needed. We remain committed to providing the highest quality of life in Howard County and being an exemplary community for health and wellness.”
According to a press release:
Annually, over 250,000 people experience a type of heart attack, known as a ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction or STEMI, which is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. This life-threatening emergency requires timely intervention to restore blood flow to the heart. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS program recognizes those emergency responders whose efforts advance STEMI systems of care and the quality of life for these patients.
“EMS is at the heart of what we do day in and day out, and we’re constantly striving to provide the highest quality of care. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us attain that goal by implementing procedures for improving STEMI techniques,” said Department of Fire and Rescue Services Chief, Louis Winston.
When a patient suffers a STEMI, as identified by an electrocardiogram or ECG in the field, that information is communicated by first responders to the receiving hospital to activate a cardiac team. Programs that have achieved Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards consecutively are eligible for “Plus” status when 75% of the STEMI ECG’s are transmitted within ten minutes of being by a patient’s side. During the 2020 calendar year, HCDFRS accomplished 89% on this measure.