In a Heartbeat was a Disney Channel Original Series inspired by real life EMT squads whose staff consists of high school students located all over the country. The show follows the lives of several teenagers who volunteer as part-time EMTs while going to school and trying to maintain their lives as normal teenagers. The squad is made up of Hank Beecham (Danso Gordon) who manages playing football with the high school team as well as being the EMT intermediate of the group, Val Lanier (Reagan Pasternak) who is noted for being a good student and cheerleader, Tyler Connell (Shawn Ashmore), a football player and Hank’s best friend, and Jamie Waite (Christopher Ralph), the newest member of the squad initially there not by his own choice but as a result of a new program to help troubled teens get their life together by becoming EMTs. Waite is seen as the rebel of the group.
Other regulars in the show are Brooke Lanier (Lauren Collins), Val’s 12-year-old sister who volunteers with the squad after school and whose main job consists of managing the paperwork, and Caitie Roth (Jackie Rosenbaum), Val's best friend who is known for her dark clothes and purple-streaked hair. Caitie is also a good friend of Jamie’s.
In the series pilot Val's father has a heart attack to which Val is one of the responding EMTs. In following episodes this causes her family to lose their previous wealth due to their father's inability to work. During the series' short run, a budding romance was seen between Tyler and Val with such moments as him giving her "his lucky penny" that was from the year she joined the group. Later it is revealed that it was not really his lucky penny, but rather a gesture in an attempt to make her feel better.
The series premiered in 2000. In Canada, the series was shown on Family while in the US it was shown on the Disney Channel. The show is based on Post 53, a real EMT emergency response program run by high school students in Darien, CT. It is the only organization in the world to have high school students be first-response EMTs. ==Criticism== The show received some criticism for some of its dramatic contents. It was pulled off the air after one year as Disney Channel began wanting to restructure its image, and come up with new shows to gain more of an audience. It was the first Disney Channel Original Series not to reach 65 episodes.