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Colonie EMS nabs national award

Colonie is one of the best places to go into cardiac arrest, according to an award presented to the town earlier this month.

The Town of Colonie's Emergency Medical Services System has earned the Heart Safe Community Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs. It is one of only two communities in the country to receive the award.

Anchorage, Alaska, was the other community to receive a Heart Safety Community Award.

Safety has been a priority for my administration since 2008, Supervisor Paula Mahan said. "I know first-hand the kind of job all of these people do here."

Mahan said she is grateful for the hard work of the emergency departments in Colonie, and she pointed out a distinction late last year citing Colonie as the safest municipality in the country with more than 75,000 people.

"I'm very proud of what they're doing," she said. We take a lot of pride in providing our residents with the best service and care possible."

She congratulated and thanked Colonie's EMS department.

"This award is a tremendous honor that recognizes not only our efforts to improve cardiac outcomes, but also the dramatic results of these efforts. I thank EMS Chief Jonathan Politis for his leadership in placing Colonie at the forefront of emergency cardiac care, and I thank each of our EMTs and Paramedics for embracing the changes that brought about these outstanding results."

The award was presented at the International Association of Fire Chiefs, EMS Section Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday May 4. It was announced to the public on Monday, May 10, at Colonie Memorial Town Hall.

Deputy Chief Peter Berry, Assistant Chief Jack Bevilacqua, and Medical Director Dr. Michael Dailey, received the award on behalf of the town.

Politis said in the past three to four years, he has seen a marked increase in the number of lives saved after sudden cardiac arrest. He said a few years ago, the rate of lives saved from sudden cardiac arrest was close to 5 percent, but now it is more than 22 percent, the biggest jump in his 21 years as director of the emergency medical service.

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