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Three local parks – Rising Park in Lancaster, Alt Park in Baltimore and Buckeye Lake State Park – recently earned the designation of a “Heart Safe Park” from Community Heart Watch. As part of this accreditation, each park receives an AED and participates in community training and awareness events throughout the year.

Every month, more than 10 people in the community suffer a cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. The brain and organs are deprived of oxygen, causing the victim to stop breathing and become unresponsive. Training community members on how to perform CPR and use an AED until first responders arrive is the key to improving cardiac arrest survival rates.

“The placement of AEDs in local parks is important to enhance the life-saving ability of our community at locations that are a hub of activity during the spring, summer and fall,” said Kasey Farmer, assistant chief of the Basil Joint Fire District. “The ability for the community to improve the chances of saving a life and beginning these measures early during a cardiac event will prove to be invaluable when the situation arises.”

In addition to the Heart Safe Park program, Community Heart Watch also oversees the Heart Safe School and Heart Safe Business accreditation programs. To learn more about Community Heart Watch, visit or contact community outreach coordinator Teri Watson at

About Community Heart Watch

The Community Heart Watch, formed in partnership with Fairfield Medical Center, was created with one mission in mind: to save lives across the region. This committee of local healthcare providers, educators, first responders and economic leaders is determined to improve sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survival rates throughout southeastern Ohio by:

• Increasing community education and awareness

• Distributing and mapping automated external defibrillators (AEDs)

• Empowering bystanders to step in and save lives

Cutline: Rising Park Heart Safe Park Accreditation (back row, left to right): Assistant Chief Kasey Farmer, Basil Joint Fire District; Garrett Blevins, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency; Captain Shawn Klaameyer, Lancaster Fire; Cheryl Barber, Lancaster Fairfield Chamber of Commerce; Teri Watson, Fairfield Medical Center; Resa Tobin, Fairfield Medical Center (front row, left to right): Sarah McGraw- Thimmes, Lancaster City Schools; Jim Thomson, Lancaster Parks and Rec; Deserea Belcher, FMC; Dr. John Lazarus, Fairfield Medical Center