SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 27, 2009

City Hall and school gain lifesaving gifts

PEABODY — The gym at St. John the Baptist School sees plenty of play. Now people there can play it safe, thanks to a new heart defibrillator from the local ambulance company.

The parochial school will receive the medical device from Atlantic Ambulance, which is furnishing the defibrillator as part of the company's contract with the city.

"We have so many people who use the gym," Principal Maureen Kelleher said. "The CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) uses our gym. The church uses it for varying events. We technically serve people in the gym from birth to 80-some-odd-more."

The ambulance company agreed to provide four units, one for each of the years of its contract with Peabody, according to a press release from City Hall.

Kelleher said the gym is used seven days a week and would give staff added peace of mind.

It's the second defibrillator for St. John's, which keeps its first unit in the school nurse's office. Kelleher said her teachers and staff are trained to use the machine.

"It's a wonderful tool, and we're hoping, God forbid, if anyone has to use it, that it's available," the principal said.

St. John's defibrillator is the second given by Atlantic Ambulance. The first unit was given to the city officials yesterday at City Hall.

Public Health Director Sharon Cameron said the newest model will be placed in City Hall's Wiggin Auditorium, host of public meetings, concerts and many receptions.

"So there's a lot of people in that space," she said. "It's nice to have that in the building."

Training on City Hall's defibrillator started right away yesterday for workers who had not already been shown how to use it. Cameron said the unit is easy to use, made easier by a voice talking the user through the steps.

She said both fire Chief Steven Pasdon and police Chief Robert Champagne asked that language be placed in the ambulance company's contract requesting the defibrillators.

The Peabody Chamber of Commerce is accepting letters from groups interested in receiving one of the final two units and associated training. To apply, contact the chamber at 978-531-0384.

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