Florence Township receives defibrillator devices aimed to benefit patrons

Left to right: Florence Township Recreation Department Director Martin Eckert, Florence Township Councilman Dave Woolston and cardiologist Sanford Gips showcase one of the four automated external defibrillators that the municipality received on Dec. 4. Submitted Photo
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Left to right: Florence Township Recreation Department Director Martin Eckert, Florence Township Councilman Dave Woolston and cardiologist Sanford Gips showcase one of the four automated external defibrillators that the municipality received on Dec. 4. Submitted Photo

The Florence Township municipality recently received four automated external defibrillators (AED) aimed to serve patrons in the event of an emergency.

Florence officials announced at a Dec. 4 council meeting that the Florence Township Recreation Department was one of the recipients of four wall mounted AED devices to be placed at recreation facilities in town.

An AED is an automatic device that can read a heart’s rhythm and determine if a shock is needed to help reestablish a healthy rhythm.

The devices were provided to the township jointly by Virtua and The Heart House. According to Heart House Executive Director Josh Ginsberg, the organization has donated 42 devices in approximately 16 months.

Heart House officials said the organization provides cardiovascular care and treats a variety of conditions such as arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and lipid conditions, hypertension, rheumatic heart disease, valvular heart disease, as well as other conditions related to the heart.

The program was founded by cardiologist Sanford Gips and has been in place for several years.

According to Florence Township Recreation Department Director Martin Eckert, the municipality reached out to the Heart House organization when they learned there was an opportunity to provide AED devices for the benefit of locals at township facilities if an emergency was to happen.

Gips has also given demonstrations on how to open and properly operate an AED device before distributing them to groups and officials.

“In late 2018, we learned that the Heart House provided an opportunity for local organizations to apply for defibrillators to be placed in areas within their community to aid in times of emergency,” Eckert said. “We submitted a letter to be considered and in November 2019, we were contacted that Florence Township was selected to received four units.”

Eckert explained that although the township is still working to improve its programs to benefit the health and well-being of residents, receiving devices like this serve as a step in the right direction to serve patrons participating in these programs in the event of an emergency.

The recreation department director also noted that some of the programs planned for the township’s health and wellness incentives will come at no cost to taxpayers.

“Ironically, Florence Township is in the early stages of developing a health and wellness initiative by creating events and activities for the community to enjoy,” Eckert said. “Through the support of Mayor Craig Wilkie and members of the Florence Township Council, the township recreation department and recreation committee have begun creating activities such as senior fitness, barre, yoga and zumba classes to launch in early 2020 at no cost to residents.

“Councilman Dave Woolston serves as council liaison to the recreation committee, and he felt that adding these activities provided a positive use for the townships community center located in the village of Roebling,” Eckert added.

Upon receiving the AED devices, Eckert said that they are aimed to serve a significant purpose to local patrons using township facilities wherever they are installed.

“When developing new programs, the township is conscious of providing a safe environment for participants, so the addition of this tremendous gift from the Heart House is a very important element to have in place,” he said.