2012-12-12 / Front Page

Freehold Twp. moves ahead with law calling for CPR training

Mayor proposed law after youngster’s life was saved on Little League baseball field
BY CLARE MARIE CELANO
Staff Writer

Freehold Township is one step closer to meeting Mayor Anthony Ammiano’s proposal to become a “heart-safe” town.

Municipal officials have introduced an ordinance that, if adopted, will make it mandatory for anyone who serves with a nonprofit organization for youngsters under the age of 18 to be certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator (CPR/AED) use.

The idea to have people who work with youngsters trained and certified in CPR/AED is an outgrowth from a May incident in which Sean Neely, of Freehold Township, was playing catcher in a Freehold Township Little League baseball game at Michael J. Tighe Park. Sean was hit in the chest by a foul ball and the impact of the ball on his chest caused his heart to stop beating.

Due to the quick action of Little League coaches and parents who immediately performed CPR on the 12-year-old on the field that day, the youngster is alive and doing well.

Ammiano has since made it his mission to have as many people in Freehold Township as possible trained in CPR/AED to make sure children, as well as adults, are protected and that those in charge are capable of performing the life-saving procedures.

Ammiano said he thinks the added cost to coaches and employees in order to save the life of someone like Sean will be of benefit to children and adults.’

Ammiano said he does not anticipate any objection to the ordinance by residents when the proposed law comes up for a public hearing on Dec. 18.

“Although there are no guarantees,” he said.

Anyone may comment on the proposed ordinance at that evening’s Township Com- mittee meeting. The mayor added that he is still researching the possibility of securing outside funding sources to defray the cost of the CPR/AED training course, which he said is usually about $50.

He said he is still working with officials at CentraState Healthcare Foundation, which has supported the effort in the past.

After talks with Ammiano in the summer, the foundation provided a CPR/AED training course for township residents for $20 per person. The course was offered at iPlay America, Schanck Road, in September. The owner of the indoor amusement theme park, Bob McDaid, donated the use of the facility for the program.

Ammiano is also continuing to work with Angela Verdesco-Greco, training center coordinator for the Health Awareness Center at CentraState Medical Center, on the criteria necessary to achieve his goal of having Freehold Township designated as a “heart-safe” town.

The ordinance will affect any township program, “including but not limited to nonprofit youth-serving organizations which receive benefits either directly or indirectly, including but not limited to provision of funding and/or provision of fields, facilities or equipment.”

Anyone who is part of recreational, cultural, charitable, social or other activities or services for persons younger than 18, and is exempt from federal income taxes, will need to have the certification, according to the ordinance.

This means that volunteer coaches, as well as full-time, part-time and seasonal employees of the Department of Parks and Recreation, will need to have a current, valid CPR/AED certification. It affects anyone who coaches, supervises, manages or participates in any nonprofit youth-serving organization.

According to the ordinance, all coaches and township employees will have 90 days from the date of the adoption of the ordinance to attain the required certification.

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