'Heart Month' begins with free event Saturday at Fire Station 11

 During the month of February, the City of Renton and the Renton Fire Department will be conducting its annual “Heart Month” community outreach program at various locations throughout the city.

 This year, the city is partnering with Valley Medical Center, Renton School District, Kind Bars and Starbucks to provide free preventative blood pressure and blood sugar screenings to the public. Renton Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians will perform the screenings at schools, businesses and community groups throughout the greater Renton area.

 "I encourage residents to help reduce the risks of heart disease by taking advantage of the free screenings that are being made available as part of our month-long promotion," said Chief Mark Peterson in a press release."The screenings only take a couple of minutes, but those minutes could save your life or the life of a loved one."

 Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States and strokes remain the leading cause of disability. Early detection can lead to early intervention and improved quality of life.

 In eight years, the Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department has performed more than 50,000 screenings during "Heart Month." Of those, more than 7,000 people were found to have high blood pressure or elevated-to-dangerous blood sugar levels. People who were at risk were encouraged to see their doctor in order to address the risk and help prevent future medical complications.

 The public is invited to attend a fire station open house event to have their blood pressure and blood sugar checked.

 Open houses are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Fire Station 11, 211 Mill Avenue South and Feb. 15 at Fire Station 12, 1209 Kirkland Avenue NE.