The Reading Hospital Regional Heart Center, in partnership with The Friends of The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, will provide Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) for all police cruisers within Berks County.
HeartSAFE Berks County, a public awareness campaign about sudden cardiac arrest, was launched today during a Berks County Chiefs of Police Association meeting in Temple. Not only does the initiative provide equipment that could save lives, but it will also educate the general public about a very serious heart-related episode that accounts for approximately 350,000 deaths each year in the United States.
"Sudden cardiac death is often the first manifestation of underlying heart disease, and is responsible for approximately 50 percent of all deaths from heart disease," states Michael Koslow, MD, Chief of Cardiology at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center. "But , with early initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and - most importantly - early defibrillation, thousands more victims could survive a sudden cardiac arrest," he added.
For this reason alone, the Hospital has begun to identify key locations within Berks County where placing an AED makes sense. These small, easy-to-use devices, allow ordinary citizens to provide immediate treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Aside from emergency vehicles, AEDs have been placed in schools, sports venues, office buildings, hotels, or anywhere people gather.
At an approximate cost of $1,500 per unit, TRHMC also expects to replace older versions of the devices so police departments have newer, less bulkier, and easier-to-use units.
HeartSAFE Berks County is an ongoing initiative that focuses on four key areas:
Another key component of the program is to provide AED and CPR training to members of the community and in locations where AEDs will be placed.