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Press Release

Teen Who Saved Woman's Life to be Honored at Launch of HeartSafe Community Initiative

June 8, 2009

Contra Costa Health Services' Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division on June 10 will honor an Alamo teenager who calmly saved the life of a fellow BART passenger who suffered from sudden cardiac arrest aboard a train.

EMS officials say 15-year-old Sara Broski's quick reaction and recent CPR training are what kept a 52-year-old woman alive until emergency responders arrived on-scene May 13. Sara's father, John Broski, said his daughter recently acquired her new skills to become a camp counselor.

"It made me really proud, especially given the fact she was willing to step up to the plate," Broski said. Pam Dodson, Prehospital Care Coordinator for EMS, said Sara's actions are a perfect example of what she hopes to achieve with HeartSafe Community, a new initiative that also will be presented June 10.

Contra Costa EMS will honor Sara and launch the HeartSafe Community initiative during the Emergency Medical Care Committee's meeting in the Contra Costa County Schools Insurance Group Conference Room (550 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10.

"To have more people survive sudden cardiac arrest we need to have every resident be able to do what Sara did," Dodson said. "If a person suffers sudden cardiac arrest and there is another person who knows what to do and takes action, it will increase the chances of survival."

A city can earn the designation of a HeartSafe Community if a specified number of residents and public safety officials are trained to recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest and know how to get help on the way, right away.

"Calling 911 and starting CPR could make the difference between life and death," Dodson said, adding that as many as 700 people suffer from cardiac arrest in Contra Costa each year.

HeartSafe Community strengthens a community's "Chain of Survival" by ensuring early access to care, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care. The initiative also aims to increase the number of automated external defibrillators in each city and the number of people who are trained to use them.

Contra Costa EMS Director Art Lathrop said the HeartSafe Community initiative would make designated cities "a safer place to live, work and play by being prepared and reducing the number of deaths and disabilities associated with cardiac arrest."

To find out more about EMS or to find a CPR training location, visit

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Press Contact
  • Pam Dodson
  • 925-313-9547