STEPHANIE HACKE | Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 3:24 p.m.
Three South Hills police departments now have the latest life saving equipment at their fingertips for when a resident goes into sudden cardiac arrest.
A $41,000 grant from the Jefferson Regional Foundation supplied 30 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the Pleasant Hills, Baldwin Borough and West Mifflin police departments (10 devices each) that replaced nearly 10-year-old devices at the departments, Pleasant Hills police Chief Brian Finnerty said.
“With these, we can at least give them that first aid and life-saving abilities,” he said.
When police arrive first on the scene, sometimes they need to utilize an AED before paramedics get there.
Pleasant Hills police have had five AEDs for nearly a decade. Their warranty ran out after five years.
“You replace batteries and pads,” Finnerty said.
New ones were needed.
Now — thanks to the grant — the department has 10.
Pleasant Hills police utilize their AEDs several times a year, Finnerty said. Every year, they save at least one life with the equipment.
Pleasant Hills partnered with Baldwin Borough and West Mifflin for the grant, as all three are serviced by Baldwin Emergency Medical Services and utilize the same AED devices, Finnerty said.
Between the three boroughs, there are 1,000 businesses, 50,000 residents and 23 square miles.
Finnerty talked about how the devices not only could be used on residents, but those traveling on the major thoroughfares through the communities that include Lebanon Church Road, Route 51 and Route 885.
“People come here just to do their banking, or shopping, looking for a place to eat,” he said.
Any of those people who go into sudden cardiac arrest could be helped by the new devices.
Now, every police car in Pleasant Hills will have a device. The other two boroughs also will have devices for their cars.
For the Jefferson Regional Foundation, which has awarded nearly $7.3 million since it began offering grants in 2014, the collaboration between the three police departments is what made this project stand out.
“The foundation is always happy to support collaborations among community agencies,” said executive director Mary Phan-Gruber. “That was a large part of the appeal for this.”
When communities unite to work together, “it’s so much more efficient,” she said.
The Jefferson Regional Foundation was funded with $75 million in 2013 as part of an agreement with Highmark Inc. when Jefferson Hospital affiliated with Allegheny Health Network. In its most fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, the Jefferson Regional Foundation awarded 29 new grants totaling $2 million.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.