‘Jump Start a Heart’ program hopes to save lives in West Feliciana Parish

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Would you know what to do if someone nearby had a heart attack?

According to the CDC, a heart attack strikes every 40 seconds in the United States.

In West Feliciana Parish, there’s a mission to help anyone save a life the moment an emergency hits.

“Years ago, the hospital decided that we wanted to focus on prevention and heart disease,” said Lee Chastant, CEO of West Feliciana Hospital.

Chastant says officials with the hospital, Sheriff’s Office, Fire Protection District and School Board, decided they needed to bridge the gap between the moment a heart emergency strikes and when emergency responders arrive at the scene to provide lifesaving care.

“So, if we can incorporate people in the community that are trained to help people with a heart attack, then we can have a better survival rate, and then we can multiply our own efforts,” said Chastant.

It’s an effort to put AED’s or defibrillators throughout the entire parish.

These are machines that anyone can use to help save a heart attack victim.  Their goal is to have a device within 5 minutes of wherever you may be.

“Every minute, you lose 10% of the opportunity of recovery. So, in a 10-minute window, your opportunity to recover is very small. So, by having someone who is 5 minutes away, we can double the chances of patients surviving and coming back well,” Chastant said.

“Anywhere where we have a populated area, or an area that has a large population such as a park or a recreational area, or some areas that many people are going to be gathered, we want to have these readily accessible,” said Brian Spillman, West Feliciana Parish Sheriff.

Sheriff Spillman says his office has some defibrillators already, but they are outdated. So, he’d like to equip all his deputies when they’re patrolling the parish with new AEDs as part of this program, to save lives.

“You know, we’re more than a sheriff’s office and more than putting people in jail and writing tickets. You know, we’re community servants and what we need to do is to do everything we can to assist our public. This is just another tool we have in our tool chest,” said Sheriff Spillman.

Chastant tells WAFB if the defibrillators are registered with the hospital, each year they will make sure that they are still working adequately.

Officials will unveil this new program Monday, March 22, but they are urging people to download the ‘PulsePoint Respond App,’ to see the locations of all the AEDs across your community. Click here to download the app.

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