From left, City of Rio Rancho Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services Connie Peterson, cardiologist Dr. Barry Ramo and Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Ryan Floersheim. (Michaela Helean)


Community centers in Rio Rancho have lacked defibrillators for a while, but today that changed.

Project Heart Start, a program started by cardiologist Dr. Barry Ramo, gave three of Rio Rancho’s community centers a new defibrillator each in partnership with the training force at the Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue Department.

“We’re just so grateful. I just can’t express how grateful we are. We have been looking to put these into our facilities for several years, and it’s finally come to fruition,” city Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services Connie Peterson said.

According to Battalion Chief Ryan Floersheim, who heads the training program with the fire department, the increase of safety for residents is significant with the defibrillators.

Ramo said heart-attack victims usually die before they get to the hospital. He says the leading cause of death in such cases is indigestion, which is often a heart attack people don’t recognize.

He recognized that emergency medical service providers work hard and do a good job, but if bystanders don’t use a defibrillator at the scene, the chance of death was that much greater.

“The best thing we can do is train as many people as we can, so when someone is having an attack they can be helped on the spot,” Ramo said.

The project provided these defibrillators for free and RRFR will restock the batteries for them. A defibrillator can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $2,000, depending on the brand.

The Observer wrote on Ramo in June. Read more here.