For Immediate Release: August 25, 2016
AtlantiCare marked the presentation of the 200th automated external defibrillator (AED) through the AtlantiCare Heart Heroes Program August 22. The presentation to the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company of Galloway Township was the 20th AtlantiCare has made to an organization and/or business in Galloway. To mark the milestone donation, AtlantiCare covered the full cost of the AED.
The AED was placed in the fire company’s banquet hall, which is used by the fire company uses and also serves as a polling place for elections and a location for other public events.
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program has presented AEDs throughout Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties since 2012, helping to build healthy communities.
AtlantiCare representatives also recognized the founding volunteers of the ARMC Heart Heroes Program, including George and Louise Schieder, of Egg Harbor City, and Rita Triola, of Mullica Township, and thanked all current Heart Hero volunteers.
"We are excited to be making this donation to the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company in Galloway, where our Mainland Campus – home of the Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) – is located," said Charisse Fizer, vice president, Clinical Operations and Ambulatory Services, AtlantiCare. "It was after we opened the region's only full-service cardiac surgery program in 2001 that the Heart Heroes Program began."
"A person's chances of surviving a cardiac emergency, such as sudden cardiac arrest, significantly increase when an AED is available," said Viren Vankawala, MD, AtlantiCare Physician Group cardiologist and ARMC Medical Staff member, as he encouraged attendees to think about other public areas where AEDs could save lives. He added, "Learn the early signs of a cardiac arrest. Become certified in CPR."
Members of the Galloway Township Police Explorer Post raised funds to cover a portion of the cost of the wall-mounted box to store the AED.
The AtlantiCare Heart Heroes is an AtlantiCare Foundation-funded program that places automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the community on behalf of the Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. The program began in 2002, spurred by a small group of dedicated AtlantiCare volunteers who were known as "The Heart Heroes", who raised funds to help AtlantiCare make AEDs available in the community. Through the program, AtlantiCare Heart Hero funds cover half of purchase price of the AED and the requesting organization covers the other half. The current cost of AEDs is $1,400. In some cases, other organizations donate the matching funds. In some cases, AtlantiCare has covered the full cost of the AEDs.
"We've been fortunate to work with AtlantiCare to place AEDs within our fire company," said Joseph Picardi, captain, Bayview Fire Company. "The students at Assumption Regional Catholic School provided the matching funds for two other AtlantiCare Heart Hero AEDs. We are placing an additional AED in the banquet hall to make it available for public access when no fire personnel are present at the station."
Organizations, groups and individuals can donate directly to the program by making a gift to the Foundation. Applications for the Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program are available on AtlantiCare's website.
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AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger Health System, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,400 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013. For more information about AtlantiCare, visit www.atlanticare.org, www.well4life.org, or www.facebook.com/atlanticare.