Port Authority expands defibrillator program

NEW YORK — At a recent ceremony, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the expansion of their award-winning defibrillator program. Since its inception in 1997, Port Authority police officers have used defibrillators to save 12 lives.

Dimitry Gorbenko, of Livingston, N. J., spoke at the ceremony in praise of the program. Gorbenko was one of the first to be revived by one of the Port Authority's portable heart defibrillators when he suffered cardiac arrest in 1997 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. "It's one of the most necessary things to have at an airport, at a bus terminal, at a police station. All buldings should have defibrillators," said Gorbenko.

With the expansion of the program, nearly 200 Port Authority tunnel and bridge agents will begin to receive defibrillator training, to join the 400 Port Authority police officers already trained. The program will also add 30 more portable defibrillators to passenger terminals at the JFK International Airport, and plans to also add defibrillators in terminals at the Newark International Airport.

"Providing this kind of benefit is the ultimate form of customer service. There is nothing more important than saving the lives of people who are in need of emergency assistance," Greg Trevor, spokesperson for the Port Authority told Police.

The use of portable heart defibrillators has been recognized nationwide as a life-saving endeavor. President Clinton recently announced plans to expand the use of defibrillators in federal buildings and airplanes. In his radio address on May 20, Clinton said, "If this entire nation comes together to place AEDs (defibrillators) in airplanes, federal buildings and other key locations, we can save more than 20,000 lives every single year."

— Amy Schmidt, Editorial Assistant, Police

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