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Flandreau grad keeps the heart beating

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2013

Kansas City EMS Instructor, and Flandreau High School Graduate Sarah Tufty, teaches the Mayor and Commissioners of Kansas City, Kansas the bystander CPR class in the Commission Chambers at the January 17th Kickoff.

Sarah Tufty and her family moved to Flandreau from Rapid City for her senior year of high school in 1991. Since then, all she has done is save lives.

Tufty in currently an EMS instructor in Kansas City, Kansas, where she has been living since 1997. Aside from teaching professionals to become an EMT, Tufty recently started a program that will teach hundreds, if not thousands of everyday citizens to save lives too.

The Heartsafe program is a nationwide program that teaches bystanders how to perform hands only CPR. But Kansas City’s fire department was without this program until Tufty brought it to the attention of her Fire Chief.

The idea behind the program is to teach hands only CPR and the correct use of AED devices to everyday citizens so that they can help save a life while EMS teams are in route. It also teaches the warning signs of a heart attack to the bystanders, so they can catch it early. All this with no certification required.

The program sets goals for each community size that decides to take part in this program. Kansas City, who falls into the 150,000 people or more category, has a program goal to teach 250 people within the first year. That shouldn’t be too difficult, as they taught over 200 people in their first session on the 17th of January.

It makes sense why so many people took the course, hands free CPR takes less than a five minutes to teach and can help save lives.

“Our goal is to teach thousands of people over the next year, not just 250,” said Tufty about her new program.”

Right now, EMT’s and paramedics are teaching the courses but soon they will have the University of Kansas Hospital education staff, who they teamed up with on the program, teaching as well. And although it may take some time, the plan is to train all 3,000 employees to teach the program.

Heartsafe also has plenty of room for expansion. They plan to extend this to the schools, teaching them not only hands only CPR but how to save someone who may be choking.

But maybe the biggest advancement will be the use of the Pulse Point application on your cell phone. Originally created by Richard Price out of California, the app works with the emergency responders and when a report of someone needing CPR is called in, everyone with the app that is within walking distance of the victim, will receive a text message reporting where they are and that they are in need of assistance.

Tufty may not have created either of these programs by herself, but the people of Kansas City are a lot safer because of the efforts she has put forward to save their lives.

“The HeartSafe Community Partnership will be alive and well because of motivated individuals like Training Instructor Sarah Tufty. To be passionate about helping the community is what will be the driving force that will result in lives being saved,” said Kansas City, Kansas Fire Chief John Paul Jones about Tufty and the program.

Although she hasn’t lived here in 16 years, Tufty has not forgotten Flandreau. She has been in contact with the Flandreau Volunteer Fire Department and has extended an invitation to them to come down to Kansas City and train in their facility. The facility includes a Confined Space Maze, or as it is more affectionately referred to as “The Maze”. That is just one of several facilities down in Kansas City that will allow the FVFD to train in areas that they would otherwise not be able to do locally.

“Last year we had four major structure fires, all of which, we saved the build­­­ing from complete destruction. I think we take pride in our structure fire skills and this will be a huge asset for us to go into a facility like this with the equipment they have a train,” said Flandreau Fire Chief Judd Krull about the opportunity.

Only time will tell how many people will take this course through the KCKFD and University of Kansas Hospital, or how many lives it will save, but even if it saves just one life, it is worth it, thanks to the dedication of people like Sarah Tufty.

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