by Lisa Tome
Cecil's Department of Emergency Services has expanded its reach.
Instead of just responding during your emergency, the department is now shining a light on heart attack and stroke prevention.
The Cecil County Health Department has provided DES with a grant. The grant will hopefully help to prevent some of the nation's heart attacks and strokes.
"We received a grant which will help us identify those with risk factors. Blood pressure and pulse checks can be big indicating factors," said Mike Deckard, an assistant chief with DES.
Earlier this month, emergency services personnel were out at Sunfest, checking blood pressures. Over the day, 34 people were checked. DES staffers have other upcoming programs planned as part of the Million Hearts campaign. Million Hearts is a nationwide initiative aimed at preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Those who get the checks are asked to fill out a brief questionnaire. Staff from the health department will then follow up with those who get the blood pressure and pulse checks. The goals of Million Hearts are to improve access to effective care, activate the public to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, and more.
Everyone who participates in this program will receive a gift bag with information. That literature includes a smoking cessation guide, high blood pressure facts, healthy eating guide, stress ball, tote bag, and more.
Million Hearts programs planned for Cecil will also include hands only CPR training. On June 21, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Walmart in Elkton will host the DES staff. On June 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the staffers will be out at North East Lowe’s. "We're trying to focus on a healthy summer for Cecil," said Deckard.