Sanibel Sea School's vehicles are often parked in public areas where the need for an AED could arise. 

Sanibel Sea School's vehicles are often parked in public areas where the need for an AED could arise. 

Sanibel Sea School has launched an internet-based campaign to raise the funds necessary to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for each of the organization’s vehicles and boats. AEDs are an essential piece of life saving first-aid equipment, used to treat victims of sudden cardiac arrest by restoring the heart’s normal rhythm.

“All of our educators are trained and certified as emergency first responders,” said Sanibel Sea School’s development director, Chrissy Basturk. “They spend almost every day exploring the island with kids, and they have a wide presence on public beaches as well as on the water. They want to contribute to making Sanibel safer by having AEDs readily available in case of an emergency situation,” she added. Each vehicle and boat would be clearly marked to let the public know that the machine is available on board. 

We hope we will never need to use an AED to treat a client or a citizen, but we also realize that it could mean the difference between life and death.
— Emmett Horvath, Marine Science Educator

Basturk explained that marine educator Emmett Horvath first approached her with the idea. Horvath felt strongly that he and other teachers should have access to a full range of life saving tools. “Safety is our number one priority at Sanibel Sea School, and we take it very seriously. Our training is much less effective without the proper equipment,” Horvath said.

According to Tim Barrett, Training Captain at the Sanibel Fire Department, sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. More than 350,000 cases occur outside of the hospital each year, and only 12 percent of those victims survive. A fast first-aid response is key. “It is important for companies and organizations to implement AED programs so employees are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency,” said Barrett.

 Sanibel Sea School's educators, including Emmett Horvath (pictured), would like to equip the organization's vehicles and boats with AEDs.

Sanibel Sea School's educators, including Emmett Horvath (pictured), would like to equip the organization's vehicles and boats with AEDs.

“We hope we will never need to use an AED to treat a client or a citizen, but we also realize that it could mean the difference between life and death. This project is really about supporting our community members,” said Horvath.

Sanibel Sea School has created a fundraising page on Mightycause.com, and donations can be made with just a few clicks. To learn more and contribute, please visit mightycause.com/story/asafersanibel

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