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Fallon Ambulance receives American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Gold Award

When a heart attack strikes, seconds count when it comes to treatment.

Fallon Ambulance Service, the region’s largest independently owned ambulance service provider, has been recognized by the American Heart Association for its excellence in response and treatment for heart attack victims in the field.

Fallon Ambulance received the highest level of commendation: American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline Gold Award.

Fallon is the only individual private ambulance firm in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to achieve this level of recognition. Qualifying was based on data collected throughout 2015, specifically cases where Fallon Ambulance responded to 9-1-1 calls for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart.  To prevent death from this type of heart attack, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Qualifying agencies perform 12-lead ECGs which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can determine if a heart attack has occurred. They additionally follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Fallon Ambulance paramedics performed within very strict protocols of time and treatment, which showed how well the company’s EMS system is working and how accurately the Fallon paramedics can recognize a heart attack. Their response protocol includes recognizing the symptoms of a STEMI in the field, applying immediate treatment, and transporting the patients directly to a cardiac catheterization lab. The data showed that 100% of the patients identified and treated by Fallon Ambulance were all within a 90 minute window of time.

The Mission Lifeline program seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. The program recognizes emergency medical service personnel for their efforts in improving systems of care and improving the quality of life for patients.

To qualify, agencies must have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years. Fallon Ambulance had an impressive record of 100% compliance for 2015.

James Jollis, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group, said, “We applaud Fallon Ambulance for receiving this award, showing it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

Judi Rowell, Director Performance Improvement at Fallon Ambulance Service, said, “We are very pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in the area of recognition and treatment of cardiac patients. Our Paramedics are at the top of the industry and train extensively in patient assessment and patient care. In addition we also want to thank the dispatchers and the communications personnel for providing pre-arrival instructions and comfort to the patients and loved ones who called the emergency in on the phone. Finally we would like to thank all of our public safety partners and receiving hospital staff for working with us to improve patient outcomes. Advancement in emergency cardiac care is a team effort, and we are privileged to work with a great team.” Kevin Mont, Director EMS Operations/Emergency Preparedness added, “We all know the importance of rapid response in cardiac care, and we are dedicated to providing the best response and treatment possible.”

Fallon Ambulance is planning several ceremonies recognizing specific Paramedics, Telecommunicators, Fire Departments & Police Departments who have helped the company earn this coveted distinction. The ceremonies will take place in the Fallon Ambulance 911 communities of Dedham, Weymouth, Milton and Brookline.