Fire Department Memo on Public Safety

The Pasadena Fire Department was recently honored by the American Heart Association (AHA) for excellence in cardiac care. The Gold Plus award is the highest honor that a fire agency can achieve. It represents excellence in patient care for those suffering a heart attack and truly represents lives being saved.

This award provides a great opportunity to educate our community on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is severely limited or blocked; this is a true medical emergency and time is of the essence o restore blood flow or permanent tissue death can occur. The third most common medical calls that Pasadena Fire responds to are 911 calls for chest pain.

According to the AHA, it is very important to know the warning signs of a heart attack so you can get help right away for yourself or someone else. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. While not every incident of chest pain is a heart attack, it is extremely important to know the signs and symptoms of one.

Common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, shoulder, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs and symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms related to a heart attack, it is important to limit the time delay if you are experiencing chest pain by calling 911 immediately or seek medical treatment at a hospital.

With this summer’s heat, it is also relevant to remind you about heat related emergencies. Pasadena Fire has responded to 14 heat related 911 calls for service in Pasadena this summer (this number excludes heat related emergencies ta Rose Bowl events). Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat related emergencies is important, but taking proactive measures to keep yourself healthy is crucial. Some tips include: wear sunblock, light colored clothing and a hat, drink plenty of water, exercise early in the morning or later in the evening, and limit time outdoors. Seeking shelter in a cool, air-conditioned climate is best, and passing the time at one of Pasadena’s 10 public libraries or at the Robinson Park Recreation Center are great ways to cool off and socialize.

Some common signs and symptoms of heat emergencies include:

  • Heavy sweating or cessation of sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Passing out

It is important to recognize these signs and take immediate action to prevent serious injury or death. If in doubt, call 911 immediately or seek medical attention.