Assumption donates AED to fire company

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GALLOWAY - Assumption Regional Catholic School students started the day off with civics and lifesaving lessons during a special assembly in the school's gymnasium Thursday, March 1.

Assumption Regional Catholic School students, members of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company and representatives of AtlantiCare onstage in the school. Assumption Regional Catholic School students, members of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company and representatives of AtlantiCare onstage in the school.

The students, along with the AtlantiCare Heart Institute Heart Heroes, presented an automated external defibrillator to representatives of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company.

AtlantiCare then surprised the students with an AED for the school.

Each month the students do a civic activity aimed at helping others in their community. The students held a Ravishing Red Day Feb. 2 as part of the school's observance of Catholic Schools Week.

Students contributed $2 each to wear red for the day instead of their school uniform colors of blue and white. Faculty contributed $5 each and wore red in support of the effort. The students raised more than $800, $600 of which they gave to the Heart Heroes for the AED.

Assumption Advancement Director Cathryn Flammer knew the fire company needed an AED, and reached out to AtlantiCare after reading about other AED donations AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Heart Heroes have made through its matching funds program.

Dr. Patrick O'Beirne, a cardiologist and father of Assumption first-grader Emma O'Beirne, spoke with the children about the importance of getting help fast for a heart attack.

"If you think someone is having a heart attack, dial 911," he said. "Having an AED and people who are trained to use it is especially helpful because they can use the AED before professional help arrives."

Principal Mary Ellen Schurtz expressed her pride.

"We are so proud of our students who exemplify on a daily basis the meaning of service and community spirit," Schurtz said. "Their dedication, coupled with the tremendous opportunity to partner with a premier organization like AtlantiCare has enabled us to provide a vital piece of lifesaving equipment to our hero volunteers at the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company for the benefit of the entire community."

Joseph J. Picardi, Bayview safety officer who is also a certified CPR/AED instructor and is responsible for placement and maintenance of the companies' AEDs, said the fire company is very appreciative.

"We'll use the AED the students and ARMC's Heart Heroes have given us for our 102-foot ladder tower," Picardi said. "With this donation, all of our frontline apparatus will be equipped with AEDs. Since there are times when only one of our trucks responds to a call, this will ensure that there is always an AED present at the scene of an emergency or a training session."

It brings the total for the company to three; two engines and now the tower ladder have AEDs.

"This is very important because heart attacks account for over half of all firefighter fatalities," Picardi said. "Having an AED immediately available will give our personnel a better chance of survival should they suffer cardiac arrest. In addition, it will allow us to be better prepared to assist the public."

AtlantiCare representatives learned from Flammer that although the school had its own AED, it would soon need a new one because batteries were no longer available for the brand it had.

Karen Carlson, AtlantiCare clinical director of cardiovascular resources at the Galloway campus, said AtlantiCare decided to surprise the students since they were so focused on helping their community.

"When it comes to a heart attack, getting help fast can be lifesaving," Carlson said. "We know in addition to the classes you have at Assumption, there are many events and activities that you hold. We hope you never have to use the AED - but your teachers will be trained and the school will be prepared if the need arises."

  Assumption Regional Catholic School students and representatives of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company and AtlantiCare by a ladder truck which will carry a donated automated external defibrillator. Assumption Regional Catholic School students and representatives of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company and AtlantiCare by a ladder truck which will carry a donated automated external defibrillator.


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