Festival Foods' In-store Defibrillators Help Save Lives: C.E.O.

ONALASKA, Wis. -- Mark Skogen, c.e.o. of Festival Foods here, is convinced that the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) the company purchased about a year ago for each of its 10 locations in the state have, more than once, made the difference between life and death.

"We have treated four people with them to date," Skogen told Progressive Grocer. "I believe that three of the four lives were saved by the use of the machine."

Interestingly, despite the current accent on health and wellness in retail food stores, such devices still don't seem to be common in supermarkets, Skogen noted.

"I have seen the defibrillators in some department stores, but I haven't seen them in any grocery stores," he said. "It's possible they have them, but I'm not aware. Ours sits right out in the open on a wall on the front end of the store.

The high visibility of the devices, which require only minimal training to use, complements the training on cardiopulmonary resuscitation that Festival Foods provides to each of its stores' management teams.

According to the American Heart Association and Red Cross, a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival zooms from 3 percent with CPR to 50 percent with AEDs and CPR.

Family-owned Festival Foods currently operates 10 stores in Wisconsin, employing over 2,300 full- and part-time associates.
-- Bridget Goldschmidt
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