Hearts on Fire

An Initiative Co-Sponsored by The Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE) and Take Heart America

There is a crisis in the fire service – more and more firefighters are tragically losing their lives due to cardiac issues, emotional trauma and cancer.  The leading cause of duty deaths in firefighters is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Additionally, for every duty-related SCA data shows that there are approximately 17 additional non-fatal cardiac events in other firefighters over the course of their careers.

Unfortunately, sudden cardiac arrest survival rates have been and remain unacceptably low and neurological outcomes can be significantly improved.  There are also inconsistencies in the level of care provided within and between communities to those in sudden cardiac arrest resulting in disparities in survival.  The Hearts on Fire Initiative aims to improve survival by bringing the highest quality consistent cardiac arrest care to all firefighters and subsequently their communities.

Recent data shows that the Take Heart “Bundle of Care” is a breakthrough in pre-hospital resuscitation.  It is a systems-based approach to cardiac arrest resuscitation that includes a carefully implemented ‘symphony’ of:

  • Rapid response and dispatcher assist CPR and AED use
  • Immediate and high-performance CPR
  • Rapid AED use
  • Active Compression/Decompression
  • Bag valve mask with Impedance Threshold Device (ITD)
  • Advanced airway management
  • Intra-Osseous drug delivery (including pediatric and adult drug algorithms)
  • Sequential elevated CPR capability
  • Cerebral oximetry and continuous end-tidal CO2 monitoring
  • Extended scene times and communication with receiving hospital
  • Performance and outcome data collection, analysis, feedback and monitoring
  • Post event debriefing

The goal of the Hearts on Fire Initiative is to equip all Minnesota fire departments with this “Bundle of Care”.

MNFire is dedicated to providing Minnesota’s firefighters with the tools, training and support they need to prioritize and protect their health by focusing on the three health problems most commonly experienced by those in the fire service: cardiac, emotional trauma and cancer.

Take Heart America, a cardiac arrest initiative, is a nonprofit founded by medical professionals and civic leaders who recognized that current survival rates have been and remain unacceptably low and that neurological outcomes can be significantly improved. They provide state-of-the-art innovative care to increase survival and brain function after cardiac arrest by partnering with communities and other nonprofits to change behaviors and implement data-driven systems of care that increase survival with favorable neurological function after arrest.