Cove Fire Department receives American Heart Association award
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Fire Department and its EMS personnel received the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Recognition award during the Copperas Cove City Council Workshop meeting held on July 2.
The Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition program launched in 2014 and is a program designed to recognize Emergency Medical Service organizations across the nation for excellent ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) care. This is the deadliest type of heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. It is also known as the “Widow Maker” heart attack.
More than 250,000 people experience a STEMI heart attack each year, according the American Heart Association’s website.
In this type of heart attack, there is a complete and sudden blocked artery in the heart, so the focus is on getting patients diagnosed correctly and to the right hospitals to remove the blockage, said Larissa Deluna, with the American Heart Association, who presented the CCFD with the award. This can happen by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing medication to remove the clot.
“So it’s really building that whole system of care, making sure the whole EMS is able to diagnose those patient, make sure they’re doing 12-leads and transmitting those to the hospital when possible,” Deluna said. “That way the hospitals can have their teams activated to remove that clot from the heart and that way these patients have the most amazing outcomes that’s possible, that’s clinically possible. Now, as you know, EMS plays a pivotal role in this, really making sure that that system of care is built for that population, making sure we’re communicating with all the different facilities that we need to as we’re taking care of these patients.”
This year marked the fourth year that Copperas Cove Fire and EMS had received the award.
“The community should be proud of the EMS and fire agencies that they have and the care that they provide for [these] most critical cardiovascular patients,” Deluna said.
Fire Chief Michael Neujahr said that five years ago, the CCFD was barely making critical benchmark times to qualify for the award, but with past and current council support, they have been able to implement training and technology to help get them to the highest award given.
“This is a fantastic award,” Neujahr said. “I just can’t even- I’m so psyched about it I can’t even see straight, but what this award means is just an outstanding level of cardiac and stroke prehospital care for the citizens of this community is what got us this award.”
Belton, Killeen, Temple and Harker Heights Fire Departments also each received the Gold Plus award.
Neujahr said that for Copperas Cove to receive the award is “a heck of an achievement.”
He acknowledged one paramedic in particular, Dawn Motsinger, who helped gather all the necessary documentation and back up to provide to the American Heart Association.
“It’s all the crews really,” Neujahr said. “Everybody’s reporting has improved tremendously to get us this award. I can’t be more proud of a crew. They earned every bit of this award. Not me.”
Neujahr also touched on the technology that allowed Copperas Cove to earn the award.
“On all of your ambulances in the city of Copperas Cove, we have telemetry where we come into your home with our high speed cardiac monitors, hook you up to a 12-lead and as soon as these guys hit send, the transmission goes to the ambulance straight to a network of providers in the hospital arena,” Neujahr said.
By the time the patient gets to the hospital, hospital staff are ready and waiting, he said.
“That’s what really got us this award, and these guys. These are some amazing paramedics that you have and to lose them is- it’s horrifying to think about losing these guys,” Neujahr said.