Winchester Fire & Rescue earns national recognition for efforts to improve STEMI treatment

Fri, 08/27/2021 - 10:30

The Winchester Fire & Rescue Department (WFRD) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.  

Each year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. 

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks – starting from when 9-1-1 is called, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination between the individual hospital, EMS and healthcare system.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient.”

Program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to improving quality care for STEMI patients. 

“For the fifth year in a row, the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department has achieved excellence in EMS by receiving the Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award,” stated WFRD Chief Jon Henschel. “This is the highest award offered by the American Heart Association, which evaluates an organization’s ability to meet strict criteria for cardiac arrest patients and patients suffering from a heart attack.  In both cases, our members exceeded expectation in every category, which greatly enhanced patient outcomes. Our fire and rescue members strive to provide the best patient care to our community members in need, and this achievement is one of many examples of their efforts. I’m proud of our organization’s members and their many accomplishments.”

About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for acute coronary syndrome patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit