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Latest News: Department Receives American Heart Association’s Highest EMS Award

Columbia, MD- Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) has been honored with the American Heart Association’s “Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award.” HCDFRS has been selected for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. HCDFRS is the first in Maryland to receive this award and only 1% of agencies in the country have received “Gold Plus” status.

“The department is truly deserving of this award,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “I am consistently impressed by our first responders; they provide the highest quality of care to the residents, employees and visitors of Howard County on a daily basis.”

Annually, over 250,000 people experience a type of heart attack, known as a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, which is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart.  This life-threatening emergency requires timely intervention to restore blood flow to the heart. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS program recognizes those emergency responders whose efforts advance STEMI systems of care and the quality of life for these patients.

Programs that have achieved Bronze, Silver, and then Gold awards consecutively are eligible for “Gold Plus” status. The “Plus” grade is for EMS agencies that achieved 75% of the STEMI ECG’s, or electrocardiograms, within ten minutes of being by a patient’s side (during the 2016 calendar year). When a patient suffers a STEMI, as identified by the ECG, that information is communicated to the receiving center, such as a hospital. HCDFRS was 89% on transmission of ECG within ten minutes of being at a patient’s side.

“We are a department that has never settled for ‘good enough,’ especially when it comes to EMS,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of care for our patients. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us achieve that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems.”

The department’s Medical Director, Dr. Matthew Levy also commented, "Our STEMI activation program was one of the first of its kinds in the region and exemplifies HCDFRS's commitment to excellence in prehospital emergency care. We are very proud of this recognition for the outstanding job our personnel do every day."

Detailed information about the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program can be found here: https://goo.gl/ok11sk (PDF).

For additional inquiries, please call the media line: 410-313-6039. 

2017 Press Releases
2016 Press Releases