Muscatine Fire Department saving lives via AHA Heart Walk

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–As emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, members of the Muscatine Fire Department help save lives as part of their everyday jobs. To ensure the firefighters know how to respond to severe conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes, they receive regular training in cardiac and stroke assessment and in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, from the American Heart Association. May 7, a group of Muscatine firefighters, led by Firefighter Colton Pauls, will participate in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City to help save lives by raising funds for valuable research.

Pauls learned about this year’s Heart Walk from his girlfriend, a nurse with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Having familiarity with the association and the work it does, he felt the walk offered an opportunity for local firefighters to save lives in a different way. Along with offering professional certifications for first responders and medical professionals, the American Heart Association also leads first aid and CPR classes for civilians, teaching them the basics of caring for a person having a medical emergency and helping them identify when to call an ambulance. Because minutes matter, paramedics and EMTS appreciate the American Heart Association helping people identify and react quickly to life-threatening illnesses so that they can offer more effective care. Pauls emphasized, “the sooner people report, the better treatment is.”

Additionally, the American Heart Association also researches better treatment protocols for first responders to use, allowing them to save more lives. Pauls observed, “The American Heart Association is such a big organization and they do so much research and development of how to recognize the signs of heart attack and stroke.”

When Pauls shared his plans to raise funds for this year’s walk, many of the firefighters expressed interest in getting involved too. They liked the idea of supporting the American Heart Association as well as having some bonding time outside of the fire station. “A lot of people at work have expressed their gratitude for this opportunity,” he reported.

Because the Muscatine Fire Department has never participated in the American Heart Association Heart Walk before, Pauls considered it wisest to start out with a modest fundraising goal and work up to larger donations in subsequent years. This May, he hopes to bring in at least $2,500 in donations. Anyone who would like to help the Muscatine Fire Department’s team reach this goal may do so by making an online donation. With the walk just days away, Pauls urges anyone interested in making a donation to do so as soon as they can.

Though giving back to the community represents a big part of what firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics do, Pauls feels proud that he and others at the Muscatine Fire Department have found a new way to support the health and wellbeing of the people they serve by participating in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. “The feeling is great,” he said: “I have great respect for the American Heart Association. It’s also a great way for the firefighters to do something together.”

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