BOISE, Idaho — Ada County Paramedics were awarded the highest honor from the American Heart Association on Friday for their quick responses on heart attack calls - the "Gold Plus" award.

"When Ada County Paramedics identifies a STEMI heart attack in the field, crews quickly alert the hospital cardiologists while still in the field, allowing them to bypass the Emergency Department," Peder Humlen-Ahearn, the Ada County Paramedics' deputy chief, said in a statement. 

"This allows us to take the patient directly to the cardiac cath lab for immediate treatment which can save precious minutes, cardiac tissue and lives," he continued.

The AHA says high-functioning crews typically get their patients medical help within 90 minutes around 75 percent of the time.

Ada County first responders' success rate is 90 percent within the same time-frame.

The AHA says very few agencies nationwide have achieved the honor.

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