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
February 14, 2003
Heart Association says Turnpike’s program
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.
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
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.
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.”
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:
Area: King of Prussia Service Plaza,
milepost 328 westbound
“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.”
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
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.
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.”
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.
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
all, Turnpike safety officials expect to provide defibrillator training to
some 250 service-plaza and Turnpike employees during the first year of
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.
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.
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
American Heart Association
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
Note to Editors: Photos available upon request.
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649