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Healthcare Foundation of La Porte provides funding for AEDs across the county

September 20, 2019 |

On Thursday, September 19, 2019, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) recognized ten organizations for making their communities a safer and healthier place to live by granting them Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at a community celebration. In an effort to further their mission of health and wellness, HFL provided 34 new AED devices that will increase the odds of survival for someone in the LaPorte area who experiences sudden cardiac arrest.

The following organizations were recognized at the AED Celebration at Cummings Lodge:

The Bride Church, Michigan City
First Baptist Church Kingsbury
La Porte Little Theater
Michigan City Area Schools
New Prairie United School Corporation
Paladin, Inc.
Salem Church
YMCA of La Porte County
La Porte Missionary Church
La Porte Catholic Churches

The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) takes great pride in offering both strategic and responsive grants to organizations within La Porte County. In the first cycle of 2019, they awarded 10 organizations with Automatic External Defibrillators. Nonprofit organizations can apply for grant funding for AED devices by going to the HFL website, and for-profit businesses can purchase AEDs through the local EMS website.

The National Safety Council (nsc.org) has specified that greater access to AEDs could save up to 40,000 lives each year. Although paramedics and EMTs are fast, they can take an average of eight to twelve minutes to reach the patient after he or she collapses. The more AEDs in the community, the greater the chance that a bystander or layperson can become engaged and utilize the tool to save a life.

An AED, or defibrillator, is often a small and lightweight device that allows a quick-thinking member of the community to assist someone who is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest by delivering an electric shock to the victim’s chest to restart the patient’s heart. Although there are ways to identify a sudden cardiac arrest, AEDs hold no risk in harming patients because the device diagnoses dangerous heart rhythms and will respond appropriately. There is no need to feel intimidated by the device. AEDs are highly user-friendly and they will give audio commands for users to follow during usage.

The day highlighted both celebration and education. The 34 new devices will impact the community and their ability to assist anyone who may suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. The event also featured a training session, which displayed how to utilize the devices and maintain them. It also emphasized the importance of registering each and every device. This is crucial in order to keep a record of the location of devices and identify potential gaps in the community. You can register AEDs through the local EMS website.

Maria Fruth, President and CEO of Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, spoke of the importance of educating the community saying, “Every second counts when someone is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. The more accessible these AEDs become and the more familiar the community is with using them, the more lives that will be saved.”

The history of HFL and heart-related initiatives is long and proud. The first gift of the former La Porte Hospital Foundation (LPH), now a legacy foundation to HFL, given in 1979 at the request of cardiologist Dr. Barbara Backer, was a Lifepak emergency cardiac monitor and defibrillator for the La Porte Hospital Emergency Department. In 2003, the LPH Foundation led the fundraising drive to establish the Heart Center at La Porte Hospital. In 2016, 10 AEDs were gifted to our local schools for their athletic departments and staff to use. In 2017, HFL worked with Fire Chief Andrew Snyder to provide new AEDs compatible with our local EMS equipment for the Fire Department. Bystander intervention and healthier lifestyles were also top of mind, so HFL funded community training in CPR and healthy living choices conducted by the La Porte Fire Department. 250 members of the La Porte community were trained in the first year. Additionally, in 2017, HFL funded the certification of 3 AED Trainers, 12 AED replacement pads, CPR mannequins and Lifeguard training at the YMCA.

In 2018, HFL funded AEDs for the La Porte Police Department building and City Hall. Now, in 2019, they are giving an additional 34 AEDs to various public organizations. Since 2016, HFL has gifted a total of 55 AEDs across La Porte County. The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is dedicated to empowering its residents to live healthy and well in and around La Porte, and the addition of these devices will further assist in achieving their mission.

You can find more information and register a new AED on the local EMS website.