Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and the Town of Hempstead are the grateful recipients of 50 automated external defibrillators (AEDS), which will be located at town parks, pools, beaches and senior centers. Santino announced the lifesaving initiative during a press event at Shell Creek Park in Island Park, joined by members of the Island Park Little League; Town of Hempstead Medical Director Dave Neubert, MD; St. Francis Hospital Vice President of Ambulatory Services Patricia Daye; Louise Spadaro, MD, Director of the Cardiac Outreach Program at St. Francis Hospital; Mercy Medical Center Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Ron Steimel; and Mercy Medical Center Director of Emergency Services Dr. Nenad Grlic.
“Defibrillators are often utilized by police, fire and other emergency personnel due to their proven ability to save lives,” stated Santino. “The Town of Hempstead commends St. Francis Hospital and Mercy Medical Center for partnering with us to provide this lifesaving equipment for town parks, beaches, pools and senior centers.”
“As a member of the Island Park Fire Department and a former New York City police officer, I have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of defibrillators in emergency situations,” added Councilman D’Esposito. “I am proud to partner with Supervisor Santino to stock many town facilities with this state-of-the-art equipment.”
“These 50 defibrillators will help us save lives throughout the Town of Hempstead,” said Councilwoman King Sweeney. “We thank our friends at Mercy Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital for partnering with the town on this important intiative.”
Town personnel will receive specialized training on the proper use of the defibrillators. However, the devices also come with step-by-step instructions, so in the event of an extreme emergency, anyone can quickly learn the steps to help someone in cardiac arrest. What’s more, the devices – produced by Cardiac Science Corporation – include bilingual (Spanish/English) instructions, making them accessible to a broad population across the town. Earlier this year, town employees were able to save the life of a fellow coworker by performing CPR and using a defibrillator located nearby.
According to the American Heart Association, there are more than 350,000 reported cardiac arrest cases per year in the United States, and only 10 percent of those victims survive. In instances where a victim is immediately administered CPR and defibrillation, their chances of survival are doubled. What’s more, for every minute that a victim is in cardiac arrest without help, their survival odds are decreased by 10 percent.
“We appreciate the leadership and community outreach being provided by St. Francis and Mercy Medical Center in partnering with us on this important project,” said Town of Hempstead Medical Director Dave Neubert. “We already have 53 AED units strategically placed throughout the town, and this will double our capacity to make a truly life-saving difference on behalf of our citizens.”
“As an integral part of the community for more than a century, Mercy is highly committed to promoting the health and safety of local residents,” said Ron Steimel, Mercy’s executive vice president and CAO. “We are honored to help in providing this lifesaving equipment.”
“Having these potentially life-saving devices available at these venues will benefit residents and visitors of all ages in an emergency situation and having quick access to them is key to surviving a cardiac emergency,” said Louise Spadaro, MD, Director of the Cardiac Outreach Program at St. Francis Hospital.
The defibrillators – valued at $1,500 per device – were secured through a state contract by St. Francis Hospital and Mercy Medical Center, so there was no cost to the town.
The setting for the event was an Island Park ballfield, as young athletes could be susceptible to blunt-force chest injuries that can lead to cardiac arrest. Accordingly, the town is placing defibrillators at locations where a life could be saved in the event of cardiac arrest.
“Today's announcement is just the latest demonstration of the Town of Hempstead's commitment to the development and safety of the children of Island Park and, particularly the Island Park Little League. Unlike the recent field improvements to Shell Creek Park implemented by the Town, such as our home run fence, batting cages, and pitching tunnel, it is our hope that the AED devices are never used, but it is reassuring to know that, if necessary, the devices are available,” said Jack Vobis, President of the Island Park Little League. “On behalf of the Island Park Little League, we offer to Supervisor Santino and Councilman D'Esposito a well-deserved and heartfelt thank you for their dedication to the League and the children of Island Park, and look forward to our continued partnership in providing our children with an opportunity to develop their skills both on and off the field.”
“The Town of Hempstead is committed to keeping residents safe, and we thank St. Francis Hospital and Mercy Medical Center for providing us with these 50 defibrillators,” concluded Santino. “And while we hope that we never have to use any of these lifesaving devices, neighbors can rest assured that they will be close by at town parks, pools, beaches and senior centers in the event of an emergency.”