Thanks to the generosity of The Friends of Reading Hospital and other community partners, all schools in Berks County opened this fall with potentially life-saving Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) onsite.
AEDs are portable devices that can detect if someone’s heart has stopped and can deliver electrical shocks that help the person’s heart return to its normal rhythm. Time is the most important element in saving a sudden cardiac arrest victim, so having AEDs readily available means the person can receive AED shocks even before an ambulance arrives.
In December 2010, Reading Hospital and The Friends of Reading Hospital launched HeartSAFE Berks County, an initiative designed to increase the chance of survival for people who have heart-related emergencies in the community.
One of the goals of HeartSAFE Berks County has been to provide AEDs in key public locations, including all schools. The Friends of Reading Hospital has donated more than 200 AEDs to local schools.
Nurses and personnel in schools are trained in the event of an emergency, but AEDs also can be used by someone with no training at all, because AEDs approved for use in the United States utilize an electronic voice to prompt users through each step.
In total, HeartSAFE Berks County has helped place more than 540 AEDs across Berks County – in schools, with first responders in most communities. and in public places such as FirstEnergy Stadium, Santander Arena, malls, colleges and at numerous non-profits. Berks County is a safer community as a result.