Leander firefighters recognized for helping save heart attack victims


The Leander Fire Department was honored at a Leander City Council meeting in early June as a recipient of an award from the American Heart Association for saving the lives of heart attack patients. The firemen received the Mission Lifetime EMS Gold Plus Award for the work and training they do to help aid victims of heart attacks.

"This award acknowledges the commitment by the Leander Fire Department to improve the overall quality of care for heart attack patients," said Mike Knipstein, the Williamson County EMS Director.

The award recognizes the Leander Fire Department's efforts to improve the overall quality of care for a patient suffering a heart attack and seeks to close any gaps that keep heart attack victims from receiving timely access to appropriate treatments.

"This past year the Leander Fire Department sought ways to improve the assessment and early identification of heart attack patients," said Knipstein.  LFD officials said part of that effort involved obtaining a 12-lead ECG, a key diagnostic tool for possible heart attack victims.

Leander fire officials said the ECG measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel quickly determine if a heart attack has occurred. Identifying a blockage within 12 hours of the onset of symptoms increases the chances of a heart patient surviving an attack, fire officials said.

"The correct tools and training allow medical first responders to rapidly identify the heart attack, promptly notify the hospital and trigger an early response from hospital personnel," Knipstein told the city council.  "The Leander Fire Department is to be commended for their commitment to improving the treatment of heart attack patients."