By the end of this year, every Wegmans Food Markets location will have at least two public-access defibrillators on site in case a customer or employee goes into cardiac arrest. Signs by store entryways show where the devices are.
For the installations and employee training, the Northeast grocery chain joined forces with Victor, N.Y.-based Shock for Life, an American Heart Association-authorized training center.
“After determining what it would take to equip our people and meet requirements in the six states where we have stores, we moved ahead,” explained Tammy Heintzelman, asset protection manager at Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can usually reach a cardiac-arrest victim more quickly than an ambulance can, boosting chances for a successful outcome. The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 300P Public Access Defibrillators that chosen by Wegmans selected are portable, easy to use, and provide recorded voice prompts that “talk” the rescuer through the process.
If the AED unit detects a “shockable” rhythm, it prompts the user to administer a shock that can restore the heart’s pumping action. If there isn’t a “shockable” rhythm, the device 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,” noted 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?”
For more information on the grocer’s defibrillator initiative, go to www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/health-wellness/id33417/wegmans-gets-a-good-shock/.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 79 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.