Drill helps people prepare for heart attacks

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TOOELE, Utah – Health experts say knowing the signs of a heart attack can be crucial in getting someone the care they need, and on Thursday a mock heart attack drill was held to educate people about the warning signs.

Bruce Bird, 79, participated in the drill by pretending to have a heart attack while standing in line at a grocery store, and others rushed to his aid as part of the practice.

Dr. Robert Garr is a cardiologist at Mountain West Medical Center, and he said there are some common complaints that indicate a heart attack.

“Anyone that has pressure on their chest or even up on their left arm or their neck or jaw--those are all common complaints,” he said. “Not everyone has chest pain, some people just have shortness of breath, or some people have nausea, palpitations, feeling like their heart is skipping a beat.”

Doctors said minutes matter when it comes to heart attacks, as 85 percent of damage suffered during a heart attack occurs in the first two hours.

Bird stayed in character throughout the drill. He said he watched his wife suffer a heart attack eight years ago and is doing all he can to prevent having one.

"We do a program through the hospital, aerobics class, swimming pool, meet twice a week, and they run us through a routine for an hour, and that's been more fun and done me more good than anything I can think of,” he said.

Officials said they hope the yearly drills will help encourage people to live a healthy life and be aware of the warning signs of a heart attack.