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Don’t Drive, Stay Alive

In Idaho, we pride ourselves on our fighting spirit and ability to overcome any obstacle. However, there are some things we just can’t, and shouldn’t, power through.

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A heart attack is one of those things, and can happen to anyone at any time. And when it does, every second counts. Every minute without help can cost heart muscle.

On average, Americans who feel the first signs of a heart attack will wait two hours before taking any action. And even then, only about 60 percent of those patients call for Emergency Medical Services. Having someone drive you to the emergency room (ER), or worse, driving yourself, is dangerous. Not only for you, but other drivers and pedestrians. And if you need cardiac resuscitation on the way to the ER, it requires a team effort – someone to drive, someone to provide CPR and other life-saving treatments.

Alternatively, by calling 911, you activate a team that can quickly identify the type and severity of a heart attack. In Idaho, we are building the Time Sensitive Emergencies System, which allows the first responders or medical team to more easily communicate with the closest hospital that can treat your specific condition in the shortest amount of time. This increases the odds of survival without major loss of heart muscle, and improves outcomes and recovery.

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Idaho, taking the lives of over 2,000 people per year. In the Treasure Valley, approximately 50% of Idahoans try to drive themselves to the hospital, and in more rural areas it is as high as 70% driving themselves. Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack, and calling 911 quickly can save your life. Learn more through our partners at St. Luke’s Medical Center, sponsors of the Don’t Drive, Stay Alive campaign.

Warning Signs of Heart Attack:

  • Pain, tightness or pressure in the chest, often confused with heart burn
  • Pressure or pain spreading to the neck, jaw, left shoulder or both shoulders, or to the back.
  • Tingling or numbness in the left arm.
  • Shortness of breath or cold sweating with no good explanation.
  • Symptoms may start slowly, presenting as mild pain and discomfort, and may develop over days or even weeks.
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