Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Carl DeFebo (717) 939-9551, ext. 2934
Email:  cdefebo@paturnpike.com

February 14, 2003

Pa. Turnpike Launches Complient’s Emergency Medical Response Program That Includes Defibrillators at all Service Plazas

American Heart Association says Turnpike’s program
 “sets an excellent example for public access to defibrillators.”

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Feb. 14, 2003) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced today that it has implemented a comprehensive automated external defibrillation program (AED) at all of its 21 service plazas and three administration offices statewide. The program includes training for key personnel at each location as well as public access to the defibrillators, which are used to electrically restart a heart that is beating irregularly or has stopped beating due to sudden cardiac arrest.

“We believe our AED program is unique, because it marks the first statewide rollout of public-access defibrillators at highway service plazas,” said Turnpike Executive Director Joseph G. Brimmeier. “Many highway departments provide AED service to travelers through police and EMS, but as far as we know we’re the first transportation agency in the nation to install defibrillators and train personnel at all service plazas.”

Joining the Turnpike in the Valentine’s Day announcement were Complient Corp., Solon Ohio, which is providing program management, training, equipment, maintenance and record keeping for the Turnpike’s AED program; and the American Heart Association, a leading proponent of public access AED programs and the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

“The Turnpike has always viewed the safety of our customers and employees as a primary objective,” said Brimmeier. “We’re proud of a number of roadway-related safety innovations; now, with the defibrillator installations, we’re expanding this legacy of caring into our service plazas and office buildings to help protect the people who drive and work on the Turnpike.”

Each day, more than 600 Americans die due to sudden cardiac arrest that is caused by a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm, according to the American Heart Association. Survival is directly linked to the amount of time between the onset of sudden cardiac arrest and defibrillation. Chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute of delay. Few attempts at resuscitation are successful after 10 minutes.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s emergency response kits have been installed in main public areas at all service plazas along the toll road, known as “America’s First Superhighway.” The Turnpike expects both trained service-plaza personnel and travelers will use the AEDs.

To mark the introduction of the program, the Turnpike, Complient and American Heart Association held special events, which included demonstrations of the AEDs at three service plazas along the Turnpike:

·                    Philadelphia Area: King of Prussia Service Plaza, milepost 328 westbound
Pittsburgh Area: Hempfield Service Plaza, milepost 74 eastbound
Harrisburg Area: Highspire Service Plaza, milepost 248 eastbound

 “Complient is extremely pleased to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s partner in its emergency medical response program,” said Robert I. Thompson, Complient chief executive officer. “This program is designed to ensure that the Turnpike service plazas have a constant state of readiness. AEDs are wonderful, life-saving devices, and having a fully effective emergency medical response program is critical for saving lives and reducing risk from sudden cardiac arrest in public places.”

During sudden cardiac arrest, calling 9-1-1 is essential, but not enough. The American Heart Association recommends two immediate steps. First, CPR must be given while waiting for emergency medical service to arrive. CPR can help keep blood flowing to the brain and heart. Second, defibrillation must take place. Defibrillation can stop the abnormal, erratic heart rhythm, allowing the heart to resume its normal rhythm. AEDs provide an electric shock, which is the most effective way to defibrillate.

 “CPR should be administered by anyone trained to provide it and be given to a sudden cardiac arrest victim immediately after he or she collapses,” said Dr. Edgar J. Kenton, president, American Heart Association Pennsylvania Delaware Affiliate. “Defibrillation must occur within minutes to control heart attacks and potential associating strokes. By placing AEDs at its service plazas, the Turnpike Commission is increasing the response time and the chances for recovery of someone in cardiac arrest.

 “The American Heart Association encourages the widespread use of AEDs and AED training for lay rescuers through programs called ‘public access to defibrillation.’ Elements of a successful PAD program include the use of FDA-approved AED equipment, medical supervision of the program, AED training, proper maintenance of AED equipment and coordination with local Emergency Medical Service personnel,” said Kenton. “The Turnpike Commission has followed these guidelines and is setting an excellent example for public access to defibrillators in the commonwealth.”

Complient’s comprehensive AED solution for the Turnpike includes training for service-plaza and office personnel, medical direction and oversight, comprehensive site assessments, data tracking and reporting, equipment maintenance, post-event servicing and program management through a single point of contact and regulatory compliance. In 2002, Complient’s customers’ programs saved 21 lives. During the year, Complient trained more than 30,000 people and completed more than 24,000 site visits.

Brimmeier believes that a comprehensive, ongoing training program will be critical to the Turnpike initiative’s success, and he thanked the service-plaza partners for their teamwork. “We want to recognize HMS Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Arby’s, King’s and Sunoco — our service-plaza operators — for sharing the Turnpike’s vision and enthusiasm concerning the defibrillator program,” said Brimmeier. “These service-plaza concessionaires are just as committed to the Turnpike’s AED project, and to date they’ve designated more than 100 supervisors and managers to receive training in how to use the devices. Such an extensive implementation would not have been possible without their full support.”

In all, Turnpike safety officials expect to provide defibrillator training to some 250 service-plaza and Turnpike employees during the first year of implementation.

In addition to the AED units in the Turnpike service plazas and administration buildings, the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T (assigned to patrol the Turnpike exclusively) has implemented its own AED program. Troop T presently employs nine AEDs across the Turnpike system — one at each station. Troop T acquired the AEDs in 2001, and it has dedicated a training officer to provide instruction to each trooper. Each of the nine Troop T stations has one AED-equipped cruiser on every shift to provide defibrillation capability at accident and emergency scenes.

About The Pennsylvania Turnpike

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a key transportation route within the state of Pennsylvania and a vital link in the network of the eastern United States. The Turnpike is 531 miles long with 59 fare collection facilities, 21 service plazas, 20 maintenance facilities, eight State Police barracks and five tunnels. It employs more than 2,300 and is traveled by more than 172 million vehicles a year. For more information, visit www.paturnpike.com.

About Complient Corporation

Complient, headquartered in Solon, Ohio, is a private company dedicated to the creation of a safe workplace for large corporations, regional businesses and federal, state and local governments. The Company focuses on preparedness for and proper response to medical emergencies that occur everyday, including sudden cardiac arrest. Complient is the premier outsource provider of workplace and public access defibrillation programs for large, multi-facility organizations. For more information, visit www.complient.com.

About The American Heart Association

The American Heart Association spent about $389 million in fiscal year 2001-02 on research support, public and professional education and community programs. The organization includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters who carry out its mission in communities across the country. The association is the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which annually kill about 960,000 Americans. For more information, visit www.americanheart.org.

Media Contacts:

Carl DeFebo
Public Information Manager
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
(717) 939-9551 ext. 2934

Patty Owens
Marketing Communications Manager
Complient Corporation
(440) 519-3760

Patrick von Keyserling
Senior Director of Communications
American Heart Association – Pennsylvania-Delaware Affiliate
(717) 975-4800

Note to Editors: Photos available upon request.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649