NEW PHILADELPHIA -- The Eastern Ohio AED Initiative has awarded numerous community organizations with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Working in partnership with the Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Initiative pursues its goal to raise funds to purchase and distribute AEDs throughout Carroll, Harrison, and Tuscarawas counties. As part of the distribution, the Red Cross provides CPR and AED training. Eastern Ohio AED Initiative is a non-profit program and 100% of donated funds are used for the AED program.

Locally, the Sharon Moravian Church in Tuscarawas and the Tunnel Hill Community Center in Stone Creek each received an AED.

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device that analyzes the heart's electrical rhythm and, if necessary, prompts you to deliver a shock to the person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is not the same as a heart attack which is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. SCA is a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness usually the result of an electrical disturbance in the heart.

Within the tri-county area there are an estimated 236 sudden cardiac arrests annually. The national survival rate is 5 percent.

AEDs are strategically placed in non-profit buildings and public facilities, such as churches, senior centers and libraries, and in law enforcement and rescue vehicles. "Our goal is to save lives. AEDs are amazing devices that are simple to use and are designed to allow non-medical people to make a positive difference for a cardiac arrest victim," said Cameron. "We would like to see AED's as common as fire extinguishers are in buildings today."

Awardees were announced at the Initiative's annual fundraiser, A Night in New Orleans, which was held at the Kent State Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center. The event was attended by over 350 people and raised for the Initiative.

"The support through the past four years has been tremendous and we greatly appreciate the wonderful reception we have received by the community," said Dr. Jeff Cameron, founder of the Initiative.

"Since February of 2009, the Initiative has provided a total of 200 AEDs to the community," said Chad Conrad, Red Cross executive director. Conrad also noted that, "the distribution of these units would not be possible without the generous support from many local businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals."

Applications and more information concerning the Initiative are available by contacting 330-343-8633, visiting www.mlcredcross.org or emailing at info@mlcredcross.org.