February is not just a month for flowers, chocolates and Valentine's Day cards. It's also American Hearth Month. There's a reason for this designation - each year 715,000 Americans suffer heart attacks, and 600,000 die, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An important point brought up in local EMS training sessions held this week in Front Royal -- and noted in our story on 1A today -- is the importance of calling 911 so that emergency responders can get you to the hospital if you are experiencing heart attack symptoms. Don't try to make it to the hospital on your own. Call the professionals. They know what to do.
We should all count ourselves lucky here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley for well-trained EMS responders and the continuing education provided by area medical personnel. A heartfelt message or Valentine sent to your local rescue squad would be a nice gesture this Valentine's Day.
By the way, do you know the major symptoms of a heart attack? Here they are, courtesy of the CDC:
* Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
* Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
* Chest pain or discomfort.
* Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
* Shortness of breath.