Bedford was among the first cities in Texas to receive the HeartSafe award for its efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and help improve the survival rate after someone suffers a heart attack.
Arlington, Mansfield and Highland Village also received the HeartSafe designation from the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council during a ceremony this month.
The cities, ranging in population from less than 20,000 to over 100,000, were chosen as beta sites, and the goal is to offer the HeartSafe program to all communities in Tarrant County, said Bedford interim Fire Chief Bobby Sewell.
“We are very proud of our accomplishments and what we have done,” he said.
He said the HeartSafe program requires cities to submit information on many factors such as response times, community education, availability of easily-accessed defibrillators and training the public in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The minimum number of points needed was 750, and Bedford’s score was 1,900, Sewell said.
Other factors in the HeartSafe designation included surveying restaurants on whether they serve heart healthy meals, looking at the city’s smoking ordinance and the abundance of walking trails in the area.
The city also works closely with Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B and the school district.
“We have a seamless system. When you get to see it all in one package, you say, ‘Wow,’ but it’s a learning process, and we want to do the best that we can,” Sewell said.
Although Bedford received a high score, Sewell said there is always room for improvement such as offering more public education and CPR training and offering more defibrillators in public places, he said.
Mayor Jim Griffin said, “I continue to be proud of our Fire Department’s dedication and commitment in serving our residents and this HeartSafe award is indicative of all the outstanding work that is being done in our community.”
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B also worked closely with Bedford on the HeartSafe designation.
Angi Perreault, chest pain coordinator at Texas Health H-E-B, said Bedford HeartSafe designation sends an important message to the community that there are healthy food options at restaurants, walking trails, a highly-trained fire department and hospital that know how to respond when someone is having chest pains or is in cardiac arrest.
She added that signs with the HeartSafe designation will likely be posted throughout Bedford to help increase awareness.
Perreault said she does a lot of community outreach and described how many are surprised to learn that people as young as 17 have come to Texas Health H-E-B because of a heart attack.
“People can’t fathom it because they think it’s an old person’s disease,” she said.