With their guiding philosophy of “people helping people,” credit unions like to think of themselves as being at the hearts of their communities, and thanks to a new program they are taking that commitment literally.
The Michigan Credit Union League wants to make sure credit union members and employees have the best possible chance of survival in the event of a cardiac emergency, which is why the league has partnered with Zoll Automatic External Defibrillators with the aim of getting an AED placed in every Michigan credit union.
According to Community West Credit Union CEO Jon Looman, who had a heart attack and collapsed while teaching an indoor cycling class last year, he survived thanks to an AED, and now plans to order one for every one of his credit union’s branches.
“They save lives, plain and simple,” Looman declared. “They just save lives, and even better than that, they improve the quality of life after a heart attack if you act right away with one.”
AEDs work by analyzing the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, delivering an electric shock to normalize it.
In addition to connecting credit unions with AEDs at a special price, the league also plans to offer CPR training for credit union staff at its 2014 annual meeting.
Looman, an avid cyclist who had no known risk factors for heart disease, said his experience underscores that a heart attack can happen to anyone at any time, and credits his survival in large part to the fact that his gym had the right equipment and the staff knew how to use it.
“A lot of it was the fact that I had an AED unit put on me within minutes of having my heart attack,” he said. “I was very fortunate; I spent two days in the hospital. ”
Looman has since made a full recovery. The American Red Cross estimates that improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year.
This story was provided by Mona Shand with the Michigan News Connection.