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A Heart Safe community: Tusayan Fire aims for preparation
Tusayan Fire’s Molly Woolley sets out to achieve Heart Safe Community status for Tusayan

(Adobe Stock)

(Adobe Stock)

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — The Tusayan Fire District (TFD) has recently been taking steps to make Tusayan a “Heart Safe Community.”

This program is designed by the Citizen CPR Foundation with the goal of improving cardiac arrest emergency outcomes.

CPR instructor for Tusayan Fire, Molly Woolley, has taken the lead in pursuing the program. Woolley became interested in the program when she learned that Xanterra, a concession company within Grand Canyon, had achieved Heart Safe Community status. After a discussion between Woolley and Tusayan Fire Chief Greg Brush, it was decided that the program made sense for Tusayan.

“We wanted Tusayan to be ready to respond to a cardiac arrest event, to be able to recognize it and respond accordingly to save more lives,” Woolley said.

In order to achieve Heart Safe status, TFD has been working with the community and businesses to meet criteria set forth by the program, such as providing regular CPR training to the community and working to ensure all AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are in compliance, which includes registration with Arizona’s SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education) program.

“I’ve been working on getting the businesses’ AEDs registered, so that means they have a doctor that oversees medical control,” Woolley said.

Woolley also said TFD is working on a subscription program designed to aid participating businesses, which will allow TFD to take responsibility for maintenance of the AEDs for a monthly fee.

“I’m trying to take some of the burden off businesses,” Woolley said.

With the coronavirus pandemic, Wooley said the process has been slower.

Pre-COVID-19, TFD was offering CPR classes every third Saturday of the month. However, classes have been put on hold for now because of safety concerns. There is also the matter of completing the AED registration process.

“It’s hard to give a timeline at this point due to COVID. I’m hopeful that it’s within the next 6 months. It depends on the more people, the more businesses I can get on board to register their AEDs and do the inspections on them and make sure they are working properly,” she said.

Once Tusayan is counted among over 600 Heart Safe Communities across the United States, it will be able to show its status as visitors drive into town. Once a community is Heart Safe, it is given official recognition, as well as road signage that signifies Heart Safe Community status.

“(I am) totally jazzed about (it), and hope that everyone else is too, because it’s a really awesome thing,” Wooley said.

As, Tusayan’s first responders, 90 percent of TFD’s calls are medical-related.

“Since we get so many people that come into Tusayan, our motivation is making sure that we can help out the tourists as well as residents to the best of our ability,” Woolley said.

More information is available from Tusayan Fire at

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