By the end of 2011, every Wegmans store will have at least two public-access defibrillators on site to assist a customer or employee who goes into cardiac arrest. Signs near the entryway of stores show locations of defibrillators.
Wegmans partnered with Shock for Life, investing significant resources to train several employees at each store.
“After determining what it would take to equip our people and meet requirements in the six states where we have stores, we moved ahead,” said Tammy Heintzelman, asset protection manager at Wegmans. “It’s the right thing to do.”
In recent years, with advances in medical knowledge and defibrillator technology, AEDs have begun appearing not just in medical settings but also in other places where people gather. AEDs can usually reach a cardiac arrest victim more quickly than an ambulance, improving chances for a successful rescue. The defibrillators that Wegmans selected are portable, simple to use, and feature recorded voice prompts that “talk” the rescuer through the assist. If the AED unit senses a “shockable” rhythm, it prompts the user to deliver a shock that can restore the heart’s pumping action.
If there isn’t a “shockable” rhythm, the AED prompts the rescuer to continue CPR until more medical help arrives, or the victim regains consciousness.
“When emergency medical crews arrive, they’re trained to take over the medical care, and they do so,” says Heintzelman. “We try to make things easier for the family. Do they need to notify someone? Can we make calls for them? Do they need a ride to the hospital or to their home?”