By Debbie LaPlaca Worcester Telegram & Gazette
CHARLTON, Mass. — First responders from the Charlton Police Department are equipped with a new portable device that can save the lives of victims struck by sudden cardiac arrest.
The department's first Automated External Defibrillator was recently donated by the Charlton branch of Savers Bank.
It came about because Charlton Police Chief James A. Pervier serves on a Worcester County Triad council known as SALT, for Seniors And Lawmen Together.
"At a SALT meeting, I said my agency is without an AED, and with an aging population, I could use is this type of device," Chief Pervier said.
Savers Branch Manager Eileen J. Piotroski, who also serves on SALT, took the chief's comment to heart. She and bank president Joseph A. Coderre presented a $2,339 Medtronic Lifepak 1000 defibrillator to the chief on March 5.
"Being a small, community-based bank, we try to step up," Ms. Piotroski said.
Savers Bank, Chief Pervier said, has been a generous community partner to his department and other town organizations.
Under Ms. Piotroski's direction, the Charlton branch has aided in the repair of storm-damaged soccer fields, replaced a dock at the YMCA camp, and contributed to a wealth of local charities and programs.
During the presentation at the bank, the chief thanked the bank officers and extolled the benefits of AEDs.
"I've done CPR on persons without the device, and I've had two survive in my career, and a lot have not," Chief Pervier said.
The use of an AED increases the survival rate of people in sudden cardiac arrest by 74 percent.
Automated voice commands guide the device's operator through analyzing the victim's heart rhythm. If life-threatening arrhythmia is detected, the machine charges to the appropriate level and delivers a shock.
More than 300,000 Americans are victims of sudden cardiac arrest every year, of which about 5 percent survive. Many deaths are preventable with the use of CPR and an AED, according to the American Red Cross.
Copyright 2012 Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Inc.
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