In the event of a heart attack, most folks wait too long to seek medical attention at a time when minutes are critical to survival. “CKFR responds to hundreds of calls involving heart attack patients who’ve delayed seeking medical attention. We’d like to change that fact,” says CKFR Firefighter/Paramedic, Lisa Tuffs.
Firefighters know folks often take a wait-and-see approach to calling 911 for a number of reasons including:
- Lack of familiarity with the symptoms of a heart attack.
- Fear or unwillingness to recognize symptoms could be serious.
- Embarrassment about calling 911 and creating a scene.
- Lack of understanding that time is of the essence.
What is a heart attack? A heart attack is when a section of the heart muscle is damaged or dies from lack of oxygen. This can be caused by an arterial blockage or blood clot. Fortunately, clot-busting drugs or angioplasty (a little balloon that expands the artery) given within the first hour after a heart attack starts can prevent or limit damage to your heart. Timing is everything. The first hour is also the time when you are at greatest risk of also experiencing a cardiac arrest (sudden loss of heart beat). That’s why it’s so important to call 911 immediately upon experiencing any of the signs listed below.
Firefighter/EMT/Paramedics are here to help. Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing the following:
- Chest pressure or discomfort that last for more than a few minutes. If the pressure goes away after a few minutes and then returns, call 911.
- Discomfort in the upper body including back, neck, jaw, arms, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath not as a result of exertion and often accompanied with chest discomfort.
- Sudden cold sweat, light headedness, or nausea.
When in doubt, check it out! CKFR emergency medical personnel arriving on scene will immediately assess to see if you need medical attention. If you are okay by the time we arrive, we’ll leave quietly. No fuss, no scene. However, if you need medical attention we can begin treatment immediately and get you to the hospital as quickly and safely as possible.
Heart attacks are deadly. Call 911 without delay if you or someone you are with begins to experience any heart attack warning signs. Our goal is to save your life!