Sunday, August 25, 2002

Oyster Bay Parks Get 18 Defibrillators

By Pat Burson

August 25, 2002

William Zang hovered over the lifeless figure lying near the 50-meter pool, attached two monitors to the upper right chest and lower left side and waited for a signal to administer a life-saving electric shock.

Thankfully, the victim was only test dummy "Resuscitation Annie," and Zang, Oyster Bay Town's director of aquatics and lifeguard operations, was only demonstrating the workings of an automatic external defibrillator for elected officials and a half-dozen lifeguards yesterday at Marjorie Post Community Park in Massapequa.

Town officials recently purchased 18 defibrillators with a $45,000 grant secured by state Sens. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), who attended the demonstration.

Oyster Bay joins a growing list of municipalities adding defibrillators to their arsenals of safety equipment at public recreational facilities.

"This all came about because residents approached elected officials to ask if we could have this in our parks," Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said.

"Without AED units," he said, "town lifeguards, parks personnel and bay constables would have to perform CPR on sudden cardiac arrest victims while they wait for the local fire department or ambulance to arrive ... With these AED units now available at town recreational facilities, [they] will be able to defibrillate victims quickly and effectively, dramatically improving chances of survival."

The equipment will be used year round, Venditto said. "With football, soccer and ice hockey leagues starting shortly after Labor Day, we feel that adding the extra defibrillators to the ice rinks and parks will enhance the safety of our residents," he said. "While I'm happy to have them, I'll be a lot happier if we never had to use them."

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