Photo: Jordan Robinson, Planning & Agency Relations Associate at the Jewish Federation of Detroit delivers new defibrillators to JARC.

Every 40 seconds. That’s how often someone in the United States suffers a heart attack. Even more, sudden cardiac death claims the lives of approximately 250 Michigan children and younger adults between the ages of 1-39 years annually. These deaths are a tremendous loss not only for families, but for entire communities.

When there is a cardiac arrest, it can come down to seconds that make the difference between life and death. That’s the impetus behind the Jewish Federation of Detroit’s recent Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) project — to make sure lifesaving help is on hand at our community spaces even before first responders arrive. 

The Jewish Fund generously funded the AEDs in partnership with Federation and Hatzalah of Michigan to ensure the safety of the entire Jewish community. Federation applied for and secured a grant of $235,600 from the Jewish Fund for new and replacement defibrillators for Jewish schools, human service agencies, congregations and other Jewish organizations across the community.

Federation delivered more than 140 AED devices
to over 50 Detroit Jewish community organizations.  

The defibrillators are portable, life-saving medical devices that are used during cardiac arrest to deliver an electric charge and restore a normal heart rhythm. For recommended AED models, the average retail price is over $2,000 — a sizeable sum, especially for organizations with small budgets or facilities that need multiple units. The Jewish Fund grant allowed Federation to secure bulk pricing on more than 140 devices to replace long-expired units and install new ones in over 50 organizations.  

Hatzalah of Michigan played a life and death role, too. Providing guidance on vendors, advice to share with the organizations regarding AED use, and their volunteers will be running the AED training for the community. 

Heart attacks are unpredictable, and more common than we usually think. Now, thanks to the Federation, if a serious heart attack happens in our community buildings, emergency help will be close at hand.

The pulse on heart attacks and AEDs:

  • AEDs are instrumental in increasing survival odds after cardiac arrest. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the chances of survival decrease by 10%.
  • 1,700 lives are saved each year by bystanders using an AED.
  • With rapid AED treatment, cardiac arrest outcomes improve dramatically. A three-minute response time to defibrillate increases survival odds to about 70%. Reduce that response time to one minute, and survival odds go up to about 90%.