This program placed Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in businesses and gathering places in the Novato Community.
In December 2003 a concerned citizen, Lea Eastland, left $77,500 in her estate to be distributed to the Novato Fire District for use in its emergency medical program. This money was transferred to the newly formed Novato Fire Foundation and earmarked for the purchase of AEDs for the public areas in the community, now known as the From the HEART program. Since May 2004, over 100 AEDs have been purchased and distributed in both Fire District staff vehicles, the Novato Police Department, and to businesses in Novato.
The primary goal of From the HEART is to reduce the time it takes to apply external defibrillation to a victim suffering Sudden Cardiac Arrest in a public location. The Foundation has reached its goal to supply the community of Novato with 100 AED units intended to reduce the “drop to shock” time to four minutes. Since it is not possible to absolutely identify when and where a sudden cardiac arrest event will take place, distributing these units among likely target areas [PDF] becomes an important aspect of the program.
The idea of having a public access defibrillation program is not new and many examples exist in other municipalities. What sets From the HEART apart from other programs is that there are no associated costs to the user in terms of equipment or training. Both are donated by the Novato Fire Foundation in order to reach all target areas regardless of ability or willingness to pay. This gift to our community is truly from the heart.