Friday, June 26, 2015

American Heart Association’s New HeartChase Race Comes to Trumbull

The American Heart Association’s HeartChase event took over the CooperSurgical corporate campus to help fight heart disease—the number one killer of Connecticut residents. This new program offered CooperSurgical employees a creative way to explore the campus during a healthy activity, connect with their colleagues, and contribute to an important cause.

HeartChase is a good-cause adventure game that puts teams on a quest to discover hidden rewards and complete activities that inspire healthy living. Teams of 4-5 people competed against other teams in a chase thro+ugh the Cooper Surgical corporate campus. Each team faced multiple checkpoint challenges and located hidden cards all while tracking progress on their game day maps. The team with the most points at the end of the clock wins. Prizes were also presented for employees who raised the most in donations for the American Heart Association.
 This was the first HeartChase event to be held at a corporate site. Events have been held in cities around the country to give participants the chance to have an adventure, without having to leave their workplace or city, and raise money to support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association.

CooperSurgical exceeded their $25,000 goal by raising more than $30,000 to support AHA programs and research. HeartChase supports the American Heart Association’s goal to reduce death from heart disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020, and also to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by the year 2020 so that more lives are saved and fewer Americans die from heart disease.
“HeartChase is a great way to get employees outside and active in a fun way,” said Judy Campisi, American Heart Association Executive Director, “Every step they take and every dollar they raise helps fight heart disease in our community.”

To learn more about hosting a HeartChase event in your area or workplace, please visit or call the Westchester-Fairfield American Heart Association at 914-640-3273 or online at .

Connecticut Becomes 24th State to Require CPR Training in High School


We did that! Connecticut becomes 24th state to have CPR training as high school graduation requirement!

American Heart Association volunteers and community leaders are celebrating the signing of Senate Bill 962 which Governor Malloy signed Wednesday June 24th. The bill will require all local and regional Boards of Education to include CPR as part of the health and safety curriculum to all students before they graduate.

To get the bill to the Governor’s desk, AHA volunteers in the You’re the Cure volunteer action network had traveled to Hartford to meet with legislators; written letters to the editor; given media interviews; rallied support on social media; and phoned representatives to lobby for the bill that ensures students learn CPR before graduation.

After learning that Gov. Malloy signed the CPR in Schools bill, volunteers were excited that Connecticut will be the 24th State to make CPR a graduation requirement.

“CPR as a graduation requirement is a phenomenal idea”, said Bruce Hoffman, a You’re the Cure advocate, critical care nurse and paramedic. “By requiring all students to learn CPR prior to graduation allows for the creation of an entire generation of lifesavers.  I am proud to have worked on this legislation with the help of the Ellington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. and the Ellington Rescue Post 512.  Three young ladies from the Ellington Rescue Post 512 and their mentors were instrumental in demonstrating and teaching several key legislators how to perform CPR and its many benefits.”

"I am overjoyed that the CPR in schools Bill has been signed into law! Students my age will now receive the hands on training to become the vital lifesavers that are so needed,” said Mahika Jhangiani (photo at left). 

The Norwalk High School student made CPR training her senior school project to make an impact on survival from sudden cardiac arrest in her community. She is an American Heart Association basic life support CPR instructor and Westport EMS volunteer. She testified at the CPR in Schools hearing in Hartford earlier this year. 

With the new legislation in place, approximately 36,500 Connecticut students will be trained in CPR annually and be prepared to take action if the need arises.

“Sudden cardiac arrest could happen at any time, anywhere and to anyone. It could happen in school,” remarked Dan Giungi, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. 

“With Governor Malloy signing this bill into law, it shows a commitment to teach students the lifesaving skill of CPR before they graduate, putting hundreds of qualified lifesavers in our communities, year after year.”

Nationally, four out of five sudden cardiac arrests happen at home and approximately 94 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.  Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Being trained to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Son Saves Father's Life with CPR

Father's Day is a happy one for a Beekman family after son saves father's life with CPR.

Son and Neighbor Honored by American Heart Association for Saving Father’s Life with CPR - Emergency Personnel also Honored

L to R: John Arnold, Jr., Mark Rampola, Mrs. Arnold and Heather Cooper.
The American Heart Association honored  two Beekman residents and Beekman emergency personnel for helping to save the life of a sudden cardiac arrest victim. The AHA's Heartsaver Hero awards were presented at the Beekman Town Board Meeting on June 17th.

In front of a packed room, Beekman Rescue Squad Captain, Heather Cooper (pictured speaking at right) read the incident report from May 25th:

"John Arnold, Jr., the son of the victim, John Arnold, Sr., started CPR on his father within two minutes of his collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, and neighbor and family friend, Mark Rampola also helped with CPR. Because 9-1-1 was activated immediately, basic life support staff were on scene within three minutes and used an automatic defibrillator, where a shock was advised to regain heart rhythm. Advanced life support personnel were on scene within four minutes and used advanced care to regain spontaneous heart circulation and breathing. The victim was transported to Vassar Brothers Medical Center where he stayed for over a week and was released, without any deficits."

“This life was saved because all of the links in the Chain of Survival were strong,” said Carolyn Torella, AHA spokesperson. 

According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. But CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

“It all starts with bystanders, these hometown heroes, knowing and using their CPR skills to help save a life. CPR is easy to learn and everyone should know CPR because sudden cardiac arrest has no warning and 80% of the time, it happens at home. You will likely be saving the life of someone you love," she said.

Such was the case with the Arnold family, who were fortunate that John Arnold, Jr., knew CPR. Arnold and Rampalo are both police officers in Westchester and have had CPR training. 

Transcare paramedics still visit John Arnold, Sr. every Monday to check in on him. Sue Puggioni EMT with Transcare said in all her years as an EMT, this was the first out-of-hospital cardiac arrest "save" she has witnessed. "He's very special."

According to the AHA, if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and begin Hands-Only CPR by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song, “Stayin’ Alive” until EMS arrives. Watching a one-minute Hands-Only CPR video can increase a person’s confidence to perform CPR, according to the AHA. The video is online at or through an app for Android or iPhones.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in New York State and the nation. Without immediate bystander intervention, cardiac arrest victim survival rates drop dramatically. Nearly 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States and survival depends on getting CPR immediately from someone nearby. Sadly, 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim. To find a local CPR class, visit

The American Heart Association advocated for a New York State law, passed last year, which will ensure that all students are trained in life-saving CPR before they graduate from high school. Currently, 23 states have passed similar laws. The NYS Board of Regents unanimously supported the draft language for the CPR training and the regulations will be published for public comment soon. The training could be adopted by October. Local residents can learn more online at

Beekman Rescue and Transcare staff involved in the save included:
Ed Becker Paramedic, Sue Puggioni EMT, Chief Greg Rayburn, Firefighter Andrew Rayburn, EMT Donna Herbst, EMT John Field, EMT Jona Falencki, Rescue Squad Member Cici Field, Rescue Squad Member Jodi Briggs, Rescue Squad Member Gene Garnes, and Kyle Hunt Public Safety Dispatcher.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Westchester Resident Helps Set CPR World Record in Times Square

Yorktown Heights sudden cardiac arrest survivor, Katarina Weigel appeared on stage to help set the Guinness World Record for CPR Relay today in Times Square. Weigel was one of 700 volunteers who performed Hands-Only CPR to set the new record. The record was officially set at 250 participants just before noon, but the CPR event participants "kept the beat" going for 12 straight hours.

The American Heart Association hosted the event in New York City as part of National CPR & AED Awareness Week.
Relay participants included AHA volunteer and The View alum Star Jones. Each took a turn performing at least 60 chest compressions at 100 beats per minute on a single mannequin, with five seconds or less between turns.
Weigel, 20-years old, has been a volunteer for the American Heart Association advocating for CPR in Schools training. The Governor signed the law last year and the NYS Education Department has to approve it for it to be included in high school curriculum.

“I’m an example of how CPR saves lives,” she said. Weigel survived cardiac arrest at high school volleyball practice in 2010. Her coaches performed CPR and used the on-site AED to save her life, “I’m thrilled to share my experience with others to motivate them to learn CPR.”

About 326,000 Americans have a cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year. CPR from a bystander can increase the chance of survival by two- to three-fold, yet fewer than half receive it, according to the AHA.
Lawrence Phillips, M.D., director of nuclear cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, was No. 250 in the relay, breaking the world record.
“We know many people have misconceptions about CPR or are too afraid to act in an emergency,” said Phillips, a member of the AHA’s board of directors in New York City. “This massive CPR relay provided us with an opportunity to engage New Yorkers with an exciting event and teach them Hands-Only CPR so they are better prepared to save a life.”
Yonkers resident, Carla Leonard, also a cardiac arrest survivor, also participated in the record-setting event.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

American Heart Association is Taking Over Times Square - To Save Lives with CPR!

In Celebration of National CPR & AED Awareness Week, the American Heart Association Teaches Thousands Hands-Only CPR & Attempts New GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for Most People in CPR Relay

CPR saves lives, yet cardiac arrest is still a leading cause of death. In New York City, fewer than 10 percent of cardiac arrest victims survive. To help prepare more people to save lives in the event of a cardiac emergency, the American Heart Association is hosting a CPR event on June 4, 2015 to teach thousands of people Hands-Only CPR over 12 hours. The event, from 7AM – 7PM, will take place in Times Square near the TKTS Pavilion on 46th and Broadway, teaching people Hands-Only CPR and raising awareness about this lifesaving skill during National CPR & AED Awareness Week.

More than 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring annually in the United States. Ninety percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. Performing Hands-Only CPR immediately can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival.

In addition to teaching people to help save lives, the American Heart Association is attempting to set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record for Most People in a CPR Relay.  Pre-selected participants will perform a continuous Hands-Only CPR relay on stage all day. Participants will include celebrities, athletes, media representatives, high-profile corporate executives, hospital leaders, political figures, healthcare providers, survivors and more. The CPR Relay and record is a way to illustrate the importance of compressions during CPR and also to help raise awareness during CPR Week.

Yorktown Heights sudden cardiac arrest survivor, Katarina Weigel will be appearing on stage to demonstrate CPR in the event. The 20-year old has been a volunteer for the American Heart Association advocating for CPR in Schools training. The Governor signed the law last year and the NYS Education Department has to approve it for it to be included in high school curriculum.

“I’m an example of how CPR saves lives,” she said. Weigel survived cardiac arrest at high school volleyball practice in 2010. Her coaches performed CPR and used the on-site AED to save her life, “I’m thrilled to share my experience with others to motivate them to learn CPR.”

“As a cardiologist, I have seen first-hand how Hands-Only CPR can save lives,” said Dr. Lawrence Phillips, Director of Nuclear Cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and member of the American Heart Association’s Board of Directors in New York City.  “The idea of doing this mass CPR training and relay came to us a few years ago when we are brainstorming ways to show the public how easy it is to perform CPR. I am so pleased to see the event come together and to know that afterward, so many more New Yorkers will be equipped to save lives.”

During the CPR Week celebration, the American Heart Association will also be honoring Heartsaver Heroes who helped save a life using CPR. These brave rescuers range from every day people to paramedics and healthcare providers. Medical experts will also be on hand to provide more information about cardiac arrest and CPR.

Those who are unable to attend the event, can visit and watch a one minute demo video, which illustrates the two easy steps to perform Hands-Only CPR to the beat of Bee Gee’s disco classic, “Stayin’ Alive.”

The American Heart Association’s New York City office is hosting this event with funding from sponsors and private donors, including Sy Syms Foundation, Bloomberg, New York Health & Racquet Club, and Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP. The initiative is also supported in a large part by volunteer efforts and donated in-kind services.

The American Heart Association’s Hand-Only CPR campaign is nationally supported by an educational grant from the Anthem Foundation. For the past four years, the American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation have been working to educate millions of Americans about Hands-Only CPR. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Keep the Beat with Hands-Only CPR

In honor of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 1-7, the American Heart Association encourages everyone to learn Hands-Only CPR.

Would you know what to do if you witnessed a cardiac emergency?  You can help victims of sudden cardiac arrest by keeping the beat of their heart going using Hands-Only CPR.

A recent survey suggests that 70 percent of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim. In honor of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 1-7, the American Heart Association (AHA) encourages everyone to learn Hands-Only CPR by watching a one-minute online video at .

“Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs,” said Carolyn Torella, AHA spokesperson, “Each year, over 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. and only 10 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive.”

According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and residential settings. So if you are called on to give CPR in a cardiac emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love.

Francesca Monro of Wilton was saved by someone she loved on Valentine’s Day in 2011 when she was only 51 years old. Her husband, Bob used CPR to save her life when she collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest at home.

“I died and he brought me back,” she said on a video created with the AHA and Greenwich-based P Garyn Productions about her experience. Without her husband’s training, she said, “I wouldn’t be here. He kept pumping my heart.”

Both are passionate about CPR training. Their whole family is trained in CPR now. Bob Monro added, “Because you never know when you need it, and I needed it for my wife and I can’t imagine what life would be without her.”

CPR, especially when performed immediately by a bystander, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.   

 Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, (1) Call 9-1-1; and (2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. During CPR, you should push on the chest at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. To easily keep this rate, push the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

“By empowering bystanders to perform Hands-Only CPR, the American Heart Association works to strengthen the chain of survival – a five-step process that can mean the difference between life and death for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” said Torella. The critical bystander links for the chain of survival include calling 9-1-1, early CPR and early defibrillation.

Check your local hospital and fire department public cources for CPR training during CPR week. To schedule a free-Hands-Only CPR training at your community group or company, sponsored by MidHudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center, AHA Regional Chain of Survival Sponsor, please visit

To learn more about Hands-Only CPR, visit  You can also find a CPR class near you at . To view Francesca Monro’s video story, visit .

Friday, May 29, 2015

May is Blood Pressure Education Month

Control your blood pressure to reduce your risk of stroke!

As a leading risk factor for death in both men and women, high blood pressure is worthy of a designated awareness month to encourage Americans to check, change, and control it. In addition to its year-round efforts related to blood pressure, each May the American Heart Association recognizes and promotes National High Blood Pressure Education month.
Whether you’re a new or veteran Salty Scoop reader, you probably know that eating too much sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). You may also know that about 33 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, and that number rises to about 40 percent among African-Americans.

Why does it matter?

High blood pressure damages your arteries, heart, and other vital organs. It’s sometimes called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms, and many people who are affected feel fine. About 69 percent of people who have a first heart attack and 77 percent of people who have a first stroke have high blood pressure.
Sadly, only about half of the 78 million Americans who have high blood pressure have it under control. The good news is that many factors affecting blood pressure are within your control. AHA has tips for controlling your blood pressure, and I blogged previously about how you can lower your blood pressure by changing the way you eat.

What if you don’t have high blood pressure?

Even if your blood pressure if normal, you can still benefit from watching the sodium you eat. Blood pressure rises with age, so even if you have normal blood pressure now, controlling the sodium you eat can help prevent high blood pressure later in life. This is important because 90 percent of Americans adults are expected to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes.

What steps have you taken to control your blood pressure? Tell us in the comments!
Learn more at: