Grand Master Dluge announcing the statewide Masonic initiative prior to introducing State Department of General Services Secretary, Gary Crowell (pictured left of the Grand Master), to receive the first AED to be placed in the State Capitol Building.
During a press conference in May on the steps of the grand foyer in the rotunda of the State Capitol, Robert L. Dluge, Jr., R.W. Grand Master, announced publicly a statewide Masonic initiative to help reduce deaths from cardiac arrest in Pennsylvania.
During these two years while he is the Grand Master, lodges are being encouraged to donate at least one LIFEPAK® 500 automated external defibrillator (AED) each for use in their respective communities. It is his anticipation and desire that a minimum of 300 AEDs will be placed throughout the Commonwealth. AEDs are devices that can be used by laypersons without extensive medical training to provide treatment to cardiac arrest victims.
During the press conference, an AED was given by the Grand Master to the State for use in the Capitol. The contribution was presented on behalf of three Harrisburg lodges that joined together to purchase the AED: Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Euclid Lodge No. 698, and William S. Snyder Lodge No. 756.
The AED program allows for lodges to apply for Masonic Matching Charity Grants funds to assist them in purchasing the life-saving devices. Through a cooperative effort with the American Heart Association, moneys raised by lodges to purchase the AEDs also will provide training in the use of the devices and public awareness of their availability and life-saving importance.
Defibrillation, the only definitive treatment for the most common cause of cardiac arrest, is an electrical shock to the heart that allows a normal rhythm to regain control. Early defibrillation is a critical link in the chain of survival and often the hardest to come by. Having an AED readily available makes it more likely that defibrillation can be administered sooner, which increases a cardiac arrest victim's chance for full recovery.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Each year, SCA strikes more than 250,000 persons and kills about 95 percent of them. The American Heart Association estimates that as many as 50,000 additional lives could be saved every year if more SCA victims had faster access to defibrillation. For each minute that passes without treatment, the survival rate drops by about ten percent. After ten minutes without treatment, the chance of surviving SCA is virtually zero.
Dan Norquist, Regional Rep for Medtronic Physio-Control, demonstrates the easy-use, LIFEPAK® 500 automated external defibrillators (AED) to the media and press conference attendees.