Posted on 04/08/2007

New Collaborative Retains PULSE Name, Extends Coverage Across Southwest PA

April 8, 2007 – PITTSBURGH –St. Margaret Foundation expanded its established leadership role in providing Automated External Defibrillators (AED) throughout the region as a result of its alliance with PULSE – Pittsburgh United for Life-Saving Emergencies.

Employing different strategies but embracing the same objectives, both St. Margaret Foundation and PULSE have successfully deployed AEDs throughout the local community, resulting in increased public access and awareness of these vital life-saving devices. St. Margaret Foundation has placed more than 300 AEDs with first responders, high-risk locations, and in numerous suburban and rural community facilities across northern Allegheny County. The PULSE Public Access Deployment (PAD) initiative has placed 250 AEDs in the lobbies of office buildings, subway stations, convention and sports arenas, and in dozens of recreational, cultural, and business facilities in Downtown Pittsburgh and its 88 surrounding municipalities. Together, this new alliance blankets southwestern Pennsylvania under a single coordinated AED effort like no other region nationwide.

To date, the combined St. Margaret Foundation and PULSE AEDs have saved 33 lives*. Approximately 400 sudden cardiac arrests occur in Pittsburgh every year. Without immediate treatment, only 5 to 7 percent of these SCA victims survive.

“The Foundation’s alliance with PULSE represents an enormous advancement for the region,” said Matt Hughes, Foundation executive director. “Not only does the number of readily accessible AEDs double, but so does the commitment to training individuals in the proper use of these vital machines, which have been proven time and again to save the lives of people suffering sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Publicly accessible AEDs offer immediate response capabilities and provide the best hope of successfully treating victims of sudden cardiac arrest,” noted Donna Panazzi, vice president of the Laurel Foundation, which had been the lead organization behind the existing PULSE efforts in downtown Pittsburgh to benefit workers, visitors and residents. The PULSE name will be used for the entire program moving forward, with the former Foundation-driven territories being renamed PULSE Suburban/Rural, and the existing PULSE program renamed PULSE Pittsburgh.

Dave Bianco, who has overseen and administered the AED effort for the Foundation, will now lead the combined PULSE program.“We are currently working with the team from PULSE to inventory, evaluate, and upgrade all of their AED machines,” said Bianco. “We will then communicate with the host property our plans regarding ongoing service, maintenance, and replacement parts for the AEDs. We are purchasing a minimum of 100 additional AEDs this year, to further expand access, along with providing the training required to maximize their use.” Bianco added that, thanks to the growing awareness of AEDs, the program now has a waiting list of a least 70 locations that have requested placement and training.

The new combined program has received additional support from the Colcom Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Heinz Endowments president Maxwell King and his wife Peggy also made a major personal contribution. King survived SCA last fall during a board meeting at the Museum of Art, thanks to placement of an AED by PULSE and the quick action of bystanders.

*Update: The 35th save, a 54-year-old woman, occurred May 4th

Source: St. Margaret Foundation