CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Emergency Squad has launched a major healthcare initiative for the Chatham community to confront the leading cause of death in this country – cardiac arrest. The only real chance of survival for individuals who suffer cardiac arrest is early CPR and defibrillation by an AED (automatic external defibrillator). The emphasis is on “early” because CPR and defibrillation should be within six minutes of cardiac arrest, after which the chance of survival without lasting physical or mental deficits rapidly diminishes.
When dispatched by a 9-1-1 call, the Squad responds with an ambulance and crew of trained EMTs whatever the time of day, 365 days a year. The police also play a key role, as they often precede the Squad to the emergency scene and are trained to recognize cardiac arrest and administer CPR and defibrillation using their AEDs. In addition to this rapid response by Chatham’s first responders, a patient’s chances of successful recovery are enhanced when a lay person witnessing a cardiac arrest has the training and skills to immediately administer CPR and defibrillate with an available AED. It is to enhance this possibility that the Squad launched a broad expansion of its CPR training program.
The goal is to assure annual CPR/AED training for almost 1000 public-sector employees and volunteers in Chatham Borough and Chatham Township, free of cost. The organizations covered by the training initiative include the two police departments, three fire departments, two public-works departments, eight public schools (including nurses, coaches, and teachers), the Chatham Board of Recreation coaches, municipal employees, and of course the Squad itself. To meet the demand, the Squad has added to its cadre of CPR trainers, certified to the standards of the American Heart Association. All eight of these trainers are Squad members trained by Atlantic Training.
This program is limited to members of the specified organizations, but citizens who want to learn CPR/AED can do so through the Atlantic Training Center. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, anywhere – at home, at work, at play, while driving, or while shopping. This program vastly increases both the numbers and the readiness of potential CPR providers, enhancing the chances that someone in Chatham who suffers cardiac arrest will be immediately treated by a bystander, immeasurably increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.