Staff Report

The Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency has received the 2019 American Heart Association “Mission: Lifeline” EMS Gold Plus Award for exceeding quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

 The Gold Plus Award is the highest recognition granted by the American Heart Association. The team award includes American Medical Response, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Maria Fire Department, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Lompoc Fire Department, Guadalupe Fire Department, Montecito Fire Department, and Carpinteria Summerland Fire Department.

Every year in the U.S., more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment.

To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

The recognition program honors emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

Agencies that receive the award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years.

The Santa Barbara County EMS Agency depends on first responders including 9-1-1 dispatch centers, fire departments, ambulance companies, law enforcement, emergency departments, STEMI Receiving Centers and STEMI Referral Hospitals.