Wheeling Fire Department Recognized Again with AHA Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award

The Wheeling Fire Department has once again earned an American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline® EMS Award. For the third year in a row, WFD earned the highest honor possible, Gold Plus – a distinguished honor given to very few departments.

Gold Plus was awarded to the WFD for implementing high quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. Since 2016, the Wheeling Fire Department has received some level of the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Award.

“Each and every day we put our best foot forward by taking all medical related calls, in addition to fire incidents and various other types of emergency situations seriously,” said Fire Chief Jim Blazier. “This award comes as no surprise, as it takes a team effort and hard work every day to achieve excellence. I am proud of all our employees, who deserve to be praised for this award.”

Every year, more a quarter of a million people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

WFD’s highly trained EMT’s and paramedics play a vital role in treating heart attacks and serve as the first medical point of contact. They can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient.

Additionally, the Wheeling Fire Department’s early activation can give the patient the opportunity to bypass the emergency department and instead go to a specialized department of the hospital, like the Cardiac Cath Lab. This way, the hospital is better prepared for the patient.

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training, and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

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