Contact Information:
David M. Marron
Braddock Heights Volunteer Fire Department
(301) 447-1841 work, (301) 663-4039 home, (301) 371-6820 fire station
david.marron@fema.gov

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For Immediate Release


Frederick Area Masons Assist Local Volunteer Fire Department in Obtaining
Life Saving Equipment

Braddock Heights, Maryland

The Braddock Heights Volunteer Fire Department now has a second Automatic
External Defibrillator (AED) thanks to a joint effort between the department
and the Masonic Lodge here in Frederick.

"The only effective way to treat cardiac arrest is with a defibrillator, a
medical device that delivers an electrical current, or shock, through the
chest to the heart," stated Joe Sheedy, EMS Captain. "The AED is an
extremely valuable tool in the fire department's arsenal."

An AED is a device used to administer an electric shock
through the chest wall to the heart. Built-in computers assess the patient's
heart rhythm, judge whether defibrillation is needed, and then administer
the shock. This shock, or counter-shock as it is sometimes called,
interrupts the random electrical pulses of ventricular fibrillation and
gives the heart a chance to start beating again in a normal rhythm. The
process is called defibrillation.

If you've watched ER, or any other TV hospital show, you've
probably seen a doctor or nurse successfully shocking a cardiac arrest
victim back to life with a defibrillator. Unfortunately, in the real world,
95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die, because the "chain of survival" is
broken or delayed. The American Heart Association has demonstrated that
early recognition of heart attacks; early 911 activation, early CPR, early
defibrillation and early advanced life support (ALS) can and does save
lives. Any delay or break in this chain can prove detrimental to the
patient.

The American Heart Association advocates for the widespread
public use of AEDs and estimates that early defibrillation could save up to
100,000 lives per year in America.

The effort to obtain the second AED was spearheaded by Volunteer Firefighter
John Arnold. After a May 2000 planning session where it was decided that
the residents in our response area would benefit from a second AED,
Firefighter Arnold set to work putting together a list of local businesses
and organizations in the Braddock Heights Volunteer Fire Department's first
due response area, that might want to support the department in obtaining
the AED. It was a phone call to Mr. Bob Tritapoe that got the Masons
involved. The Frederick Masonic Temple is located in the Braddock Heights
Volunteer Fire Department's first due response area.

"Being a healthcare professional myself, I realized the value of the AED
immediately, and agreed to take the request before the Frederick Masonic
Holding Corporation at the next meeting." Stated Mr. Tritapoe, Junior Warden
of Columbia Lodge #58 and Vice President of the Holding Corporation.

Eventually all six supporting bodies of the temple would agree to donate
$500.00 each and cover the entire purchase price of the AED.
"Realizing that the majority of the fire department members are volunteers,
I was very pleased that the groups of the Frederick Masonic Temple could
provide them with the proper equipment they need to perform their duties."
Mr. Tritapoe added.

"The community is the real winner here," said Captain Sheedy, "While having
one AED on the ambulance is great, having a second AED available in the
station, when the ambulance is on a call greatly increases everyone's
chances of survival dramatically."

"We couldn't have done this without the incredible support of the members of
the Masonic temple," added Firefighter Arnold, "Its gratifying to find
community oriented organizations that are willing to work hand-in-hand with
us to provide us with the support we need to function effectively."

In 1999, the Braddock Heights Volunteer Fire Department ambulance responded
to over 500 calls for help. Already this year the ambulance has responded
to nearly 400 calls for help.

For more information on AEDs please reference the American Red Cross web
site at: www.proed.net/ecc/ecc_home.htm