Parlin, N.J. - At the President Park Firehouse today, State Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski and Department of Community Affairs Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman presented the Sayreville Fire Department with the first automatic external defibrillator (AED), thanks to a new statewide distribution program for the New Jersey Fire Service. 

“AEDs can be expensive, so this is where State Government can make a real impact,” said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.  “I commend the Sayreville Fire Department for taking the steps to protect its residents and firefighters.  These defibrillators will help save lives – plain and simple.”

In September, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey and the State Legislature announced the appropriation of $1 million out of the FY’06 budget to purchase and distribute AEDs to the New Jersey Fire Service, thanks in large part to support from Assemblyman Wisniewski. 

“In New Jersey the number one cause of firefighter fatalities is cardiac events. In 2003, every New Jersey Fire Fighter who died in the line of duty died as a result of a cardiac arrest. AEDs will help to save lives of firefighters and those in the communities they serve,” said Assemblyman Wisniewski, Chairman of the Fire Safety Commission. “I am happy that the first AED will go to my hometown of Sayreville. This is a worthy program of which I am proud to have been a part.”

As part of the initiative, DCA’s Division of Fire Safety will distribute approximately 1,000 AEDs to every eligible fire district in the state. 

“In emergencies,AEDs often mean the difference between life and death,” Commissioner Richman said.  “With these tools, our first responders and firefighters are better equipped to respond to any emergency in New Jersey.”

Every municipality and fire district with its own fire department is eligible to receive at least one defibrillator.  Some municipalities may receive more than one defibrillator based on population or area served, and will only be distributed once every eligible fire department has received one. 

DCA’s Division of Fire Safety will distribute AEDs in the order that the completed application packages were received.  Each municipality will also receive one training simulator that will be available to train fire staff on the proper use of defibrillators. 

“I applaud Governor Codey, the Legislature and particularly Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski for making this initiative a reality,” said Larry Petrillo, State Fire Marshall and Director of DCA’s Division of Fire Safety.    

The Sayreville Fire Department is the first municipality in the state to receive a defibrillator and training simulator. 

AEDs are lightweight devices that monitor a person's heart rhythm (through special pads placed on the torso) and can recognize sudden cardiac arrest.

According to the American Red Cross, 250,000 Americans died of sudden cardiac arrest in the past year: nearly one death every two minutes. Up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if an AED had been available for immediate use at the time of the emergency.