Health and Family Services Cabinet
Marion County Selected as a HeartSafe Community

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 04, 2014  
Contact Information:  Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3101; or Jill Midkiff, (502) 564-7042, ext. 3465  

 The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Department for Public Health (DPH) announced today that Marion County is the most recent Kentucky county to earn the designation of HeartSafe Community, an honor set aside for communities that have met criteria to better respond to cardiac arrests.

Marion County joins Ashland-Boyd, Bullitt, Clark, Jefferson/Louisville Metro, Jessamine, Marshall, McCracken, Montgomery, Oldham, Shelby and Warren counties on the growing list of communities working to be healthier and safer places to live.

“Heart disease affects the lives of many Kentuckians so it is imperative that we work together to make our state HeartSafe,” said Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, DPH commissioner. “We must be prepared to respond to cardiac arrest. I commend the citizens of Marion County for recognizing the seriousness of this public health issue and taking the necessary steps to become a HeartSafe Community.”

The HeartSafe Community program was launched in the summer of 2011 by the DPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program to help communities improve the chances that anyone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest will have the best possible chance for survival.

DPH is collaborating with the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) and the American Heart Association on the project.


HeartSafe communities meet a combination of factors viewed as preferable in a community’s ability to recognize and respond to cardiac arrest. These factors include:

• Early access to emergency care in which bystanders recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest and immediately call 911.
• Early CPR, a simple, easily learned emergency procedure used when someone's breathing and heartbeat suddenly stop.
• Early defibrillation, the delivery of electric shock to restore the heart's normal rhythm.
• Early advanced care delivered by a response vehicle staffed by advanced life support personnel.

Becoming HeartSafe was important to local leaders and health advocates in Marion County because of the prevalence of heart disease.
“Marion County is very fortunate to have achieved the HeartSafe Community designation,” said Marion County Judge-Executive John G. Mattingly. “The best possible chance for survival in a cardiac arrest situation is maximized  by the local efforts  achieved and by participation in  this important  lifesaving initiative.”
DPH staff said Marion County is the latest county to build grass-roots support for cardiac survival through HeartSafe.
“By becoming HeartSafe, communities are showing they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the health and well-being of their citizens,” said Bonita Bobo, manager of the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. “We congratulate the citizens of Marion County for their commitment to health.”

Approximately 4,600 Kentucky residents die each year due to cardiac arrest that occurs outside of the hospital, away from advanced medical assistance. Typically, these events happen in the presence of a family member or friend.

Reducing the number of cardiovascular deaths is one of the major goals of Governor Steve Beshear’s kyhealthnow program, which aims to improve the health of the state by targeting specific areas identified as major health concerns. Kentucky ranks 48th in the nation in cardiovascular deaths. The kyhealthnow program’s goal is to reduce cardiovascular deaths by 10 percent by the year 2019.

The HeartSafe Community program focuses on strengthening links within the community that contribute to the likelihood of survival of cardiac arrest.

To become a HeartSafe Community, applicants must review criteria for the program, complete an application, and mail or fax the application to DPH. The recognition is valid for a period of three years and is renewable through the application process.

Communities must apply to be HeartSafe through the DPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program.

Applications are available
or by calling 502-564-7996.


The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.