GIVING THE GIFT OF GIVING. . .
On June 17, as part of the company’s 15 year anniversary, employees here at AED Superstore learned they would each be able to donate an automated external defibrillator to an organization, charity, or heart-compromised individual of their choice. This means more than 65 life-saving AEDs will be placed where they can benefit communities which may not otherwise have been able to afford them. This also means more lives can be saved and more people will be educated about the importance of AEDs.
AED Superstore was started by two EMS professionals who recognized AEDs should be more readily available in order to lower the rate of death from sudden cardiac arrest. They set out to make that happen by selling these amazing devices to anyone wishing to enhance the safety of those around them. Over the years, the company has fostered a culture of giving with AED donations, financial donations, as well as both a scholarship and grant program. Recipients of these awards are typically made by the company’s selection committee.
One of the amazing things which happened during the selection process involved the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department close to AED Superstore’s offices in northern Wisconsin. They indicated they had no AEDs in their patrol vehicles and asked if there was any way seven to eight units could be donated. The call went out to employees who had not made their individual selections yet, and within 24 hours eight employees chose to donate their AEDs to Vilas County. At the end of this month, those eight employees will meet with representatives from the Vilas County Sheriff’s department to present them with these life-saving devices.
“We wanted to give our employees the opportunity to choose the recipients themselves,” said Cindy Dunbar, Director of Customer Care. “Everyone knows of a place which could benefit from having an AED, and having the devices come from the employees themselves was the best gift we could give them.” From schools and youth organizations to churches and family members with chronic heart complications, every employee hopes the AEDs never have to be used. Should the need arise, however, they are happy to know chances of survival are increased.Read More…Read Less…
Student Athletes Get Free Heart Screening. . .
On December 27, 2016, 16-year-old Michael Saxby, a student at Waunakee High School, went into cardiac arrest on the basketball court at an away game in West Allis, WI. Friends, teammates, and his mother watched from the sidelines as the athletic trainer performed CPR and an AED was brought to the scene. Luckily, EMS arrived in time to use their defibrillator and resuscitate him. A three-sport athlete most of his life, Michael had only had minor signs there may be a problem – shortness of breath on occasion, and some fatigue beyond what should have been the norm. Happily, Michael’s story ends well – he recovered and is now back in school, although not back on the basketball court. For many high-school and college athletes, the outcome is not as positive. Many who go into cardiac arrest on the field, court, or diamond do not recover. Luckily there is a simple way to find out if a student is at risk for a cardiac incident – an ECG.
When we here at AED Superstore heard Michael’s story and realized it had happened “in our backyard,” we decided to embark on a new offering. We were already carrying a device called the Cardea Screen by Cardiac Insight, which allows someone who has been trained in its use to conduct a 12-lead ECG on patients aged 14-45. It is calibrated using the Seattle Criteria which compensates for a condition known as “athlete’s heart” so the false-positive readings are kept to a minimum – in fact it has less than a 3% false-positive rate (standard ECGs do not compensate for athlete’s heart and have a false-positive rate of around 20-22% when screening athletes). This device conducts one of the cleanest ECG readings on the market today. AED Superstore reached out and offered to screen any Waunakee High School student athlete who wished to be tested at no charge.
The response was overwhelming. Armed with two Cardea Screen devices, and the materials to perform routine vitals (height, weight, and blood pressure) as well as hands-only CPR/AED training, six AED Superstore employees set out to screen the over 200 students who had signed up for the screening on March 3 at Waunakee High School. Of those that signed up, 105 received an ECG that day and a second day has been agreed upon for the testing of those who were not able to make it on the 3rd. The readings will be analyzed by cardiologist Dr. Vic Froehlicher, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Orthopedics/Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Cardiology Clinic at Stanford University. Results from the testing will be confidentially emailed to the students’ parents.
Athletic Director for Waunakee High School, Aaron May, was key to the success of this event. His passion for his student-athletes was clear in his efforts to bring the kids to school on what was a scheduled day off to undergo the testing. Michael’s story had been covered by the local newspaper and television station and was well-known throughout the school of just over 1200 students. When parents realized they could possibly prevent experiencing the same situation with their own child, they were willing and eager to participate. “The best part about the whole day was the kids,” said Amber Neller, Strategic Account Manager for AED Superstore, and the person who reached out to Waunakee High School after reading about Michael. “They were all well-behaved, polite, and appreciative. Even though some of them had to wait a while, they all handled it very well.”Read More…Read Less…
AED Superstore Partners With Simon’s Fund To Help Youth Organizations. . .
AED Superstore is always looking for ways to help place AEDs where they will be most beneficial to communities. Recently, we partnered with Simon’s Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and death in youth. GotAED.org is their new initiative which works to help organizations raise funds for AED purchases.
Simon was only three months old when he passed away from Long QT Syndrome, a relatively rare heart condition which affects approximately 1 in 7000 people, and often goes undiagnosed until cardiac arrest occurs. After his death, Simon’s parents, Darren and Phyllis Sudman, were checked and Phyllis was diagnosed with the same condition. Seeing a need for awareness, they started Simon’s Fund in honor of their son.
Many people do not associate sudden cardiac arrest with children, but the statistics show on average 16 people under the age of 18 die of sudden cardiac arrest every day, and it is one of the leading causes of death among student athletes. Everyone has a heart; therefore, everyone can have a heart condition. When heart conditions go undiagnosed, that is when tragedy can occur. The only proven treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is defibrillation.
Working with AED Superstore and other partners, GotAED.org is a crowdfunding site which gives youth-based organizations the opportunity to start a campaign to raise funds for an AED device. Once their fundraising goals are reached, AED Superstore works with the organization to provide the very best pricing available.
Anyone can use an AED Device and anyone can save a life. The purpose of GotAED is to make sure that every school, along with other youth-based organizations, are prepared for any cardiac arrest emergency. For more information on using GotAED, or to contribute to participating schools, go to www.GotAED.org.Read More…Read Less…
AED Superstore’s 2016 Grant Winner. . .
Purchasing an AED can be a bit of a financial challenge for some. The importance is understood, the need is there, but sometimes the money just is not. At AED Superstore, we are always looking for ways to help communities place more AEDs where they can do the most good. This is why we are offering a $2000 grant twice each year to those in need. The grant is designed to ensure the recipient has the funds to purchase any of the AEDs offered by AED Superstore, along with the supplies and accessories necessary to begin an AED program. We received hundreds of applications for our first grant award and have read them all over and over again. Choosing just one proved to be more difficult than we ever anticipated, and while we wish we could award the money to everyone, we were finally able to narrow it down to just one.
We are pleased to announce the winner of our $2000 AED grant:
Fort Jones Volunteer Fire Department in Fort Jones, California
According to their application, they respond to approximately 500 emergency incidents each year and 75% of those incidents are EMS. They are located in a rural setting with the first arriving ambulance approximately 20 minutes away, and their base hospital is located 25 miles away. Fort Jones Volunteer Fire Department is the sole EMS provider for 849 square miles of rugged terrain including the Pacific Crest Trail. To make up for the shortfall in funding from the city, operating dollars come from their non profit Fire Department Association which holds fundraising community functions such as bake sales to get donations to run the department. Their current AED is so old they cannot find parts for it.
Congratulations, Fort Jones Volunteer Fire Department!
To learn more about our winners, you can visit their website at www.fortjonesfire.com!
We are now taking applications for our next grant to be awarded in June 2017.Read More…Read Less…
AED Superstore Supports Local Ice Rink. . .
With our long winter season, it’s no surprise hockey is a major part of life up here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. From the time they are old enough to hold a stick, most kids are put on the ice and taught the finer points of following the puck. Both boys and girls leagues are exceptionally active, and most communities up here have an ice rink which supports both hockey and figure skating.
Sara Olson, Team Leader here at Allied 100, is no exception to the hockey lifestyle. She grew up in the sport and, when she found out one of the long-time youth hockey coaches at her “home rink” had passed from sudden cardiac arrest, she knew she had to find a way to make sure the Eagle River Recreation Arena had all the equipment it needed to provide treatment if it ever happened again. The rink had an AED, but it was not visible to the rescuers on the day Jeff (Newt) Newton, 53, collapsed and died while playing adult hockey. AED Superstore donated a cabinet with strobe light and alarm, and signage to the rink so the AED could be placed where it would be easily located should anyone find themselves in another cardiac arrest rescue situation.
AED Superstore encourages all sports arenas, fields, and courts to have an AED available during all practices and games. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and physical exertion has been shown to increase the likelihood of an event. Investing in life-saving equipment is always a good play!Read More…Read Less…
Raising Awareness Through Scholarship Opportunities. . .
AED Superstore sponsors a bi-annual scholarship for students entering or currently enrolled in college. We ask these students to either write a short essay or produce a short video telling us which of the sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) facts we listed on our scholarship application page came as a surprise to them, or that they wish more people knew about.
We received thousands of submissions over the course of the last two application periods, and realize we have a long way to go when it comes to educating the general public about AEDs, how they work, and the startling statistics surrounding sudden cardiac arrest. Overwhelmingly, the students chose fact #2 which states “SCA affects roughly 16 people under the age of 18 every day,” most likely because it hits a personal chord within them. They look around at their peers and they wonder if SCA is going to strike them down, or if it will affect them personally at some point in their life.
Applicants also needed to tell us how they would raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest. While most thought hanging posters and flyers would do the job, other “outside the box” ideas included school events, rallies, dedicated clubs, awareness days, and fundraisers to purchase AEDs for their schools or other public facilities. Some even took the initiative to speak with their school administrators, nurses and coaches about whether the school had AEDs, with mixed results.
Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to our winner – Cristina Rodriguez! Her essay impressed us with the time she took to research ways to help athletes:
“I wish more people knew that Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or gender. In fact, SCA affects roughly 16 people under the age of 18 every day and is a silent killer that tends to target young athletes; yes, young exercising athletes. Most of the time many of our young adults do not realize that they might have a heart murmur or other heart abnormality. Most people would probably not know what to do if they saw a young person collapse. It is through proper training and familiarity of recognizing signs and symptoms that can determine the life and death of an individual.
It is important to know that anyone can save a life whether it is by dialing 911, performing CPR, or by looking for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to start your heart beating. The worst anyone can do is do nothing. As an athlete myself, I am concerned for the health and safety of any athlete who has overlooked being a target of this silent killer and worry about if it did occur would we know what to do. All athletes undergo a physical exam as a requirement to participate in a sport activity. We take it for granted that if we passed the physical we are good to go. I have come to learn differently today. A physical exam will monitor your outer body but does not look at your inner body and does not recognize any abnormalities within your heart. Anyone who plays sports is familiar with the rigorous practices and unpredictable weather temperatures that we are exposed to on a daily basis. With SCA, your heart just stops working and the person just passes out and will appear lifeless. As I researched to expand my understanding of SCA, I learned about The Nick of Time Foundation. I learned that this foundation came together through a common goal of keeping our youth’s hearts healthy. This organization is composed of a group of volunteers and medical professionals who will not only conduct the routine physical exam in your own school but will conduct EKG’s to monitor your heart rhythm and train you on CPR procedures among other life saving strategies. Knowing this, I find it necessary to collaborate with school districts leaders,coaches, parent and student organizations to bring a heightened awareness and understanding of SCA. Initial steps could include addressing parents through PTA’s and our district webpage. Student assemblies and sign up meetings can too serve to educate and train students. Something as simple as making it a requirement for students participating in any sport or physical activity including but not limited to PE, athletics, band, cheerleading, drill team, etc. be required to pursue further heart examinations beyond the basic physical as a precaution. Bringing The Nick of Time to our community could make this cost attainable to our parents and accessible being that we live in a rural community. Further awareness can easily be shared through our Health classes, PE classes, school nurses, athletic trainers, coaches etc… We must encourage parents to attend these medical screenings as a requirement and meet with the medical professionals for further recommendations if needed. We must drill everyone as if it were a fire drill and have AED accessible at all times. After all, this is our community, as parents these are your kids, and as athletes, this is your life and your fellow athletes’ life at stake. This is why we must all strive to raise awareness and a plan of action in every school and community.”
Upon graduation, she will be pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio in Fall of 2017. Her goal is to work with children with prosthetics and help improve their quality of life. Community service is important to her and she is especially proud of her participation in a project called “Packing for Success”. During her tenure, this project helped provide over 600 backpacks with supplies to economically disadvantaged elementary students in her community and she was honored to spearhead the project in 2016. High School was an amazing journey for her and will be graduating in the top 1% of her class. She is a busy woman and is an active and proud member of a number of clubs including the National Honor Society, Leo’s Club, 4H Club, UIL, Vice President of the Future Farmers of America in addition to all the sports teams she played over the course of her 4 years.
Her love for sports began at a young age but it was not until high school that she realized how much hard work and sweat is required to compete at a varsity level. She competed in Basketball, Golf, Volleyball, and Drill Team. Participation in these activities taught her to embrace challenges, to make the most of opportunities, celebrate successes, and understand the importance of good sportsmanship. She is an amazing role model for young women everywhere and proves the point that anything is possible when you put your mind and heart into it.
As Cristina mentions in her essay, there ARE ways to prevent needless deaths due to SCA in young athletes. ECG and echocardiogram screening during preparticipation physicals can identify underlying genetic heart conditions which, when aggravated by physical exertion, may lead to sudden cardiac death. Even if they are asymptomatic, just knowing the condition exists can lead to a lifestyle change or intervention by way of an implanted internal defibrillator, medications or surgery to lessen their risk.
Awareness is the key. Truly. Learning as much as you can about sudden cardiac arrest, how to recognize the signs and symptoms, what to do when you see someone in cardiac arrest, how to perform CPR and use an AED, and even just knowing that AEDs exist, is crucial to increasing survival rates. King County, Washington is an outstanding example of how educating a community can lead to significantly improved survival rates. The national survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest survival is in the single digits in most of North America. In King County, Washington, it was 62% in 2013! They attribute this success to a comprehensive system that works together when an SCA event unfolds. Read about their remarkable program here.
We congratulate Ms. Rodriguez and we hope these continued scholarship opportunities spur young adults to find ways to educate their communities about sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of AEDs. We will continue to do our part and keep working to spread the word – any help you can give us is greatly appreciated! Let’s save more lives together!Read More…Read Less…