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Sunderland named HEARTSafe Community

SUNDERLAND — Residents can rest assured that someone will come to their rescue in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Last week, Sunderland was recognized as a HEARTSafe Community, a state program that recognizes cities and towns that have improved the chances that anyone suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest has a better chance for survival.

“People of the community are safer and in case of a sudden cardiac arrest they can be assured that the EMS service in town will be able to give them great care, which they already do,” said Linda Moriarty of Western Massachusetts Emergency Medical Service Inc.

The town joins about 600 other communities across the country and world who are HEARTSafe communities. Other Franklin County towns include Bernardston, Colrain, Deerfield, Gill, Greenfield, Leyden and Shelburne.

The designation is a starting point. Sunderland volunteer EMT Marc Tremblay said he’d like the town to expand on the program’s mission by offering CPR trainings for community members.

As part of its award, the town receives a certificate and two large road signs informing travellers of the town’s status.

The state Department of Public Health and the American Heart Association run the program. Massachusetts became the first state in 2002 to start the program, which spread to several other states and countries.

The program is designed to help communities strengthen what the heart association calls the chain of survival, which involves four steps: early access to emergency care, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced care.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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