Camden County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works year round to train interested county residents on how to best care for themselves, their families and others in the event of a disaster.
Tragedy can happen anywhere at any time in numerous ways, including from a fire, a heart attack, a terrorist attack and a missing persons report. CERT training empowers community members to prepare responsibly for providing support, possibly even before first responders are on the scene.
Freeholder Melinda Kane was able to receive a new automated external defibrillator (AED) on Dec. 4 for the Camden County CERT team. An AED is an automatic device that can read a heart’s rhythm and determine if a shock is needed to help re-establish a healthy rhythm.
Kane accepted the AED for the county organization, acknowledging that such donations help widen the scope and lifesaving ability of CERT in the event of a tragedy.
“It’s amazing; [an AED] should be available for residents wherever they are,” she said.
“This is a lifesaving device capable of dampening the effects of a cardiac arrest until emergency professionals are on the scene,” Kane added. “The effective use of an AED dramatically improves the odds of survival.
“This generous award will benefit not only the CERT program, but our entire community.”
According to county officials, the donation is the second AED device that CERT will own, having already received training on how to properly use the device.
The AED was donated jointly by Virtua and The Heart House, one of 15 devices that went to eight separate organizations on the same day the county donation was received. According to Heart House Executive Director Josh Ginsberg, the organization has donated 42 devices in approximately 16 months.
Heart House cardiologist Sanford Gips gave a brief demonstration on how to open and properly operate an AED device before awarding the 15 CERT devices. It was Gips’ initiative over a year ago, according to Ginsberg, that led to the medical center donating AEDs month after month to organizations in the community.
“On behalf of The Heart House and Virtua Foundation, I want to congratulate all of our deserving nonprofit and community organizations,” Gips said during his presentation. “I want to thank you for your service to your community and your concern about the welfare of your community.
“You’re making a very wise choice when you choose to have an AED available in your facilities.”
The AED has voice commands that help walk its user through correct application of the device, Gips explained, even if it is never used.
“Hopefully, this is a device that will just sit on your wall and never have to be opened,” he added, “but like any other emergency, it’s good to be prepared just in case so you know what to do if an emergency occurs.”
Those trained as CERT team members learn how to help protect civilians from danger until help arrives, but they are not emergency responders, according to a county release. Find out about joining the CERT team by contacting CERT Coordinator Jay Vilardo at firstname.lastname@example.org.