Dale Association Acquires Lifesaving Defibrillators

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Lockport human service agency acquires lifesaving semi-automated external defibrillators

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Two sites operated by The Dale Association, a human services agency for adults of all ages, are now equipped with semi-automated external defibrillators thanks to an underwriting grant from Univera Healthcare. With the devices, known as AEDs, The Dale Association sites at 33 Ontario Street and 20 Lock Street in Lockport, are better equipped to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest.

Founded in 1951, The Dale Association is a non-for-profit organization that provides health and wellness services for seniors, community outreach, mental health programs, enrichment and travel. The organization serves on average 7,500 adults per year with its various programs.

“Having these devices on site will allow The Dale Association staff to take immediate action in a cardiac crisis while they wait for first responders to arrive,” said Art Wingerter, Univera Healthcare president. “In a cardiac emergency, it’s important to have an AED within reach since the likelihood of resuscitation decreases by about 10 percent with every minute that passes.”

Minutes can save lives. The current national survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is less than 5 percent. The American Heart Association estimates that 50,000 lives would be spared every year if AEDs were readily available to cardiac arrest victims.

An AED is the size of a child’s lunchbox, and is used in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias where the heart is electrically active, but in a dysfunctional pattern that doesn’t allow it to pump and circulate blood. This abrupt loss of function is known as cardiac arrest and, if not treated within minutes, quickly leads to death.

An AED delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart that can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume. The device also coaches the user in the proper administration of CPR, including providing a metronome beat to help the user count and time CPR chest compressions. Immediate use of an AED, in conjunction with CPR, offers a chance at survival.

The AEDs underwritten by Univera Healthcare are manufactured by Philips. Each is semi-automated and issues voice commands that instruct the user on how and where to connect sensor pads to the patient. The pads allow the AED to examine the electrical output from the heart and determine if the patient is in a shockable rhythm (either ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia). If the device determines a shock is warranted, it will provide instruction to the user on how to deliver the electrical charge. If the sensors don’t detect a shockable rhythm, the device will not allow a shock to be administered.

Note: For patients who present a “flat line” (the absence of any cardiac electrical activity), the AED will state that no shock is advised. For those patients, the only chance for survival is to try to establish a shockable rhythm through CPR, which is why it is imperative that CPR is carried out immediately, even prior to the arrival of an AED or medical professionals.

Underwriting grants from Univera Healthcare and its parent health plan have placed nearly 160 AEDs into service across upstate New York, including at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex, The Riviera Theatre, Old Fort Niagara and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Univera Healthcare also has donated more than three dozen AEDs to area law enforcement agencies, including the Erie, Wyoming and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Departments. “In rural parts of our service area, a Sheriff is often the first responder to a medical emergency.” said Wingerter.