King Sweeney Announces Hempstead Town Has A Heart For Highway Workers

Issued by: Council Member Erin King Sweeney

Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney was joined by Town of Hempstead Highway Department Commissioner Thomas Toscano and Medical Director Dave Neubert at the Franklin Square Highway Yard as she announced that automated external defibrillators (AEDS) would now be placed at the three Town of Hempstead Highway yards to help protect those employees.

These highway department AEDs are part of 50 AEDs that were part of a partnership with St. Francis Hospital and Mercy Medical Center to provide protection at facilities across the township. The defibrillators – valued at $1,500 per device – were secured through a state contract by the hospitals so there was no cost to the town.

“Defibrillators are often utilized by police, fire and other emergency personnel due to their proven ability to save lives,” stated Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney. “Our highway workers are hard at work during extreme temperatures and needed to be considered as well.”

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. 

In addition to the Franklin Square Highway Yard, the Highways Yards in Roosevelt and Inwood will also each be equipped with a life-saving AED. Other AEDs are located in Town parks, senior centers, Camp ANCHOR, marinas, Town Hall and more.

“In the event of a cardiac emergency, time can make the difference between life and death and AEDs allow bystanders to respond and intervene quickly,” noted Supervisor Laura Gillen. “The Town has been adding AEDs to locations throughout Hempstead and we are proud that these three new devices at our highway yards will help keep residents and workers safe.”

“We sincerely hope that we never have to use any of these lifesaving devices, but our employees and neighbors can rest assured that they will be close by in the event of an emergency,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby.  

Town personnel receive specialized training on the proper use of the defibrillators. Highway department personnel will be trained in-house by a retired paramedic who serves as the Town’s training director/coordinator. 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. In 2016, town employees were able to save the life of a fellow coworker by performing CPR and using a defibrillator located nearby. Unfortunately, in 2013 before the Town had defibrillators available, a Highway employee did not survive a cardiac event at the Franklin Square Highway yard.

“The Hempstead Town Board is committed to keeping our employees safe, as well as our residents and we believe that these AEDs being located at our local highway yards will help us achieve that goal,” concluded King Sweeney. “We never again want to experience another tragedy like the one experienced at the Franklin Square Highway Yard in 2013.”