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From left, Plumas County Public Health Agency Director Andrew Woodruff presents Public Information Officer Karen Lichti from the Chester Fire Department and Peninsula Fire Department Chief Gary Pini with an award making the Lake Almanor Basin a Heartsafe community Sept. 3. Photo by Victoria Metcalf

Lake Almanor Basin gains second Heartsafe designation in Plumas County

Two representatives of the Lake Almanor Basin fire agencies were on hand to receive an award designating the area as a Heartsafe region.

This is the second area to receive the award, according to Plumas County Public Health Agency Director Andrew Woodruff.

“Partners from Chester Fire, Peninsula Fire and West Almanor Community Service District worked hard to make this happen,” Woodruff told members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. The people were honored during the board’s meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3.

To achieve a Heartsafe designation, Chester Fire in partnership with Peninsula and West Almanor Community Service District created a plan for evaluating and improving the “chain of survival” for cardiac events, Woodruff explained. This includes early access, early CPR and early defibrillation.

“They created a plan for evaluating and improving cardiovascular health and prevention through partnership with multiple screening programs and a public awareness campaign to transform community response to cardiac events,” Woodruff said.

The project also included adding AEDs in public spaces and offering CPR classes. AEDs are automated external defibrillators that are placed in public places and are available to help save the lives of people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

“Most people who have experienced a heart attack do not go to the hospital for two hours,” Woodruff said. “And when they do, they take their own vehicle. By calling 911 immediately and using emergency transport, survival is greatly increased.”

It is noted that between 300,000 to 400,000 people experience a sudden cardiac arrest in a non-hospital area every year, according to the National Safety Council.

Cardiac arrests cause more deaths than breast cancer, colon cancer, motor vehicle accidents and diabetes combined, according to the council. Therefore the availability of AEDs help save lives especially when every second counts.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall explained how geographically different and challenging the Chester/Lake Almanor is from the Quincy area. “I’m really proud of my community,” she said.

“Thank you for recognizing them,” she told Woodruff.

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