This week, the Board of Supervisors declared February American Heart Month in Contra Costa County, as President Obama has proclaimed for the United States.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country, killing more than one-half million people annually. Unfortunately, my father is one of those statistics. He died of cardiac arrest in 1987 at the age of 58. Had my father received emergency care sooner, he may have survived.
We can take steps to reduce our risk of heart disease such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical exercise.
Steps can also be taken in treating cardiac arrest or stroke to increase the chances of survival. Here, in Contra Costa County, we've made great progress to help with this potentially life-saving early intervention.
Our Health Department has an ambitious program to install public access Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) countywide and to train local residents in using them to perform CPR.
The goal is simple: the more residents who know CPR, and how to use an AED, the more lives saved.
The County is also implementing a state-of-the-art AED Link program, which allows 911 dispatchers to identify public access AEDs within 1200 feet of cardiac arrest victims.
For more information about how to get trained in CPR, including learning the symptoms of cardiac arrest or stroke, check the Health Department's CPR webpage, If you know of a location in West County that could use an AED, please email Terrance Cheung in my office or call him at 510-231-8688.
Remember, when someone is suffering a cardiac emergency, immediately call 911, and look for someone to do CPR. If you've completed the training, it could be you!