FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   Connecticut Department of Public Health

April 18, 2011                                                 Contact: William Gerrish

(860) 509-7270



Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), in collaboration with the American Heart Association, announces that Stafford has been designated a HEARTSafe Community.


“The HEARTSafe Communities program is designed to increase the awareness of the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac events by ordinary citizens,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Stafford has demonstrated its commitment toward ensuring that its residents and visitors receive the early lifesaving response proven to increase the chances of survival for heart attack victims.”


DPH began the HEARTSafe Communities program to foster community environments that improve the survival odds for people suffering sudden cardiac events, such as cardiac arrests or heart attacks. The key to the program has been dubbed by the American Heart Association as the Chain of Survival. The Chain of Survival has four vital links:  early access to emergency care; early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); early defibrillation and early advanced care.


Johnson Memorial Medical Center (JMMC), with the help of the West Stafford Fire Department and the First Selectman’s Office, spearheaded the project that resulted in a HEARTSafe Community designation for Stafford. Stafford met the program requirements for public placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which automatically diagnose and treat potentially life threatening cardiac events; trained community residents; and equipped, staffed and trained emergency responders. In addition, JMMC and West Stafford Fire Department plan to provide community CPR training programs and the Office of Selectman plans to expand the availability of AEDs in public locations.


“Part of the mission of Johnson Memorial Medical Center is to improve the health status of the community through readily accessible emergency care and health education. In fulfillment of that mission, we are proud to have led this effort. We will continue to support the HEARTSafe Communities program by offering CPR/AED training classes to Stafford residents and strengthening the Chain of Survival” said Peter J. Betts, LFACHE, President and CEO of JMMC.


A HEARTSafe Community promotes and supports: CPR training in the community; public access to defibrillation through strategic placement of AEDs for use by public safety professionals and other trained community members; and early advanced care.


“As First Selectman, I am very humbled by our many volunteers who have taken the time to be CPR trained and are prepared to help their fellow citizens in the event they suffer a cardiac arrest. I am honored that Stafford has received this HEARTSafe designation” said First Selectman, Michael P. Krol.


Municipalities wishing to obtain designation as a HEARTSafe Community can download an application from the State Department of Public Health website at: or contact Gary St. Amand, Health Program Associate, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program at or 860-509-7581.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.