Greater Williamsburg HEARTSafe Alliance

The Greater Williamsburg HEARTSafe Alliance is working to improve survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by strengthening the chain of survival in our community and by educating the community on heart-healthy behaviors.

Sudden cardiac arrest strikes over 300,000 Americans annually and over 85% of those Americans die before reaching the hospital.  Research shows that bystander initiation of CPR and rapid defibrillation following the arrest increases the chance of survival by almost 50%.  Training our community in hands-only CPR and AED use will allow for an increase in survival of cardiac arrest in our community.

Our Programs

  1. Free CPR and AED training: We are working to train the Greater Williamsburg area in hands-only CPR and AED use. These courses are available to the public at no cost and will be provided throughout James City County, York County, the City of Williamsburg, and the City of Poquoson.
  2. PulsePoint Mobile Application: This empowers everyday citizens to provide lifeā€saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. App users who have indicated they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and willing to assist in case of an emergency can be notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR.
  3. Partnerships with Businesses and Organizations: We are partnering with businesses and organizations including churches and non-profits throughout the community to provide them with the training and resources to help them become a HEARTSafe entity.
  4. AED Implementation and Registry: Following the launch of PulsePoint later in 2019 this will allow for public access AED’s throughout the community to be registered into the PulsePoint application. We also are working to obtain funding to provide AED’s to businesses and organizations at a discounted cost.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why does the Greater Williamsburg area need HEARTSafe?
    1. A community health needs assessment completed in 2016 by Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and Riverside Doctors' Hospital identified cardiac health as an area in which the community was weak. Shortly after that, the HEARTSafe endeavor was launched and it was decided to make it a collaboration between public and private entities. In February 2018, the Greater Williamsburg Area received the HEARTSafe designation from the Rappahannock EMS Council which initiated the launch of HEARTSafe programs throughout the community. 
  2. What is the chain of survival?
    1. The chain of survival is a five-step model for response to sudden cardiac arrest: 
      1. Early recognition of a cardiac arrest event and rapid call of 911 for help 
      2. Immediate high-quality CPR
      3. Rapid defibrillation with an AED
      4. Basic and advanced emergency medical services
      5. Advanced life support and post-arrest care. 
  3. What is the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack? 
    1. Sudden cardiac arrest is a problem with the hearts electrical system: 
      1. Usually strikes without warning
      2. The heart will suddenly stop beating and no blood is being pumped to the rest of the body
      3. People with sudden cardiac arrest have no pulse. 
    2. A heart attack affects the plumbing of the heart: 
      1. People may have signs or symptoms before the event
      2. Blood flow to the heart muscle is diminished or blocked however the heart keeps beating. 
      3. People having a heart attack will have a pulse, unless the heart attack causes sudden cardiac arrest. 

For more information on HEARTSafe, click here