Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
August 4, 2000
TRENTON - Police, fire and first aid squads in 146 New Jersey towns will receive life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and essential training materials free-of-charge this week through a $500,000 special appropriation made in last year's budget by Gov. Christie Whitman.
The initiative was launched to get defibrillators into areas of the state where the devices had not yet been purchased for use by first responders, those officers or volunteers who usually arrive first at the scene of a medical emergency. One hundred and thirty-eight of the 156 agencies awarded an AED through this initiative currently do not have one at their disposal.
"A quick response to a cardiac arrest using a defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) gives cardiac arrest victims the best chance for survival and a complete recovery," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant.
AEDs are phonebook-sized, battery-powered devices that evaluate a patient's heart rhythm, generate and deliver an electric charge to someone whose heart has stopped, and then re-evaluates the heart. The AEDs provide both voice and visual prompts that lead users through each rescue step.
"Unfortunately the high cost of defibrillators - around $3,000 each - means this life-saving device is not yet available in every community," said Robert Dinetz, Education Coordinator for the Department of Health and Senior Services' Office of Emergency Medical Services.
"By targeting first response agencies," Dinetz added, "this initiative improves the chances that this important intervention will be accessible when citizens need it no matter where they are at the time."
In addition to an AED, each first response agency selected will receive a set of defibrillator pads, a battery pack, a one-way CPR pocket mask, a practice mannequin, an AED training device (an AED replica with programmed training scenarios), and other training tools such as videos and an instruction manual.
More than 300 first response agencies applied for an AED through this initiative. To participate, the agencies were asked to submit training and implementation plans. Most recipients already have staff trained in CPR and some have staff members who have also completed AED training. Allowing for delivery and staff training time, the 156 AEDs awarded should be in mobile units within 3 to 4 weeks.