André Listemann, Managing Director of Mercer Stendal, handing off one of the layman defibrillators to the Björn Steiger Foundation for the Heart Safe Community Arneburg-Goldbeck project

Layman defibrillators for the association municipality

Heart safety is becoming more prevalent within Verbandsgemeinde Arneburg-Goldbeck. Thanks to the Arneburg pulp mill, Mercer Stendal, and their mutual commitment to safety, the Björn Steiger Foundation was able to install three more lay defibrillators.

In September 2019, the foundation and the association municipality launched their joint project Herzsichere Gemeinde Arneburg-Goldbeck or “Heart Safe Community Arneburg-Goldbeck”. As part of the initiative, the foundation equips high-traffic areas amongst communities nationwide with AED devices (Automated External Defibrillator) that are easily accessible to the public. This enables lay people to provide first aid and save lives in the event of a cardiac arrest without needing prior medical knowledge. The devices are available day and night, also available to first responders for use in emergencies. The goal is now to provide one defibrillator per 1,000 inhabitants.

With two devices already put into operation throughout the municipality, among others in the Goldbeck administration building, the foundation has now installed three more devices thanks to the support of Mercer Stendal. Of the three new installs, one can be found in the Arneburg town hall, one in an exterior wall box on the forecourt of the Goldbeck gymnasium, and one on the Hohenberg-Krusemark volunteer fire department building.

“On behalf of the citizens of our community, I would like to thank André Listemann and Mercer Stendal for their generous donation of the AED devices. I would like to thank the Björn Steiger Foundation for joining us in Arneburg-Goldbeck in addressing this important issue. Every device helps to decisively improve heart safety in our community association, which is now more heart-safe than before. With a comprehensive local supply of defibrillators, we are decisively increasing people’s chance of survival here in our independent communities,” said Simone Kuhlmann, deputy association mayor, at the handover.

Mercer Stendal Managing Director, André Listemann, underlined the importance of this project: “I am pleased that we, as a local company together with the municipality and the Björn Steiger Foundation, can make a contribution to making people in our community more heart-safe. We know that far more people die of sudden cardiac death in Germany every year than in traffic accidents. It can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. In such cases, immediate resuscitation measures are life-saving. Thanks to the Björn Steiger Foundation’s Heart Safe initiative and the defibrillators, we are now better equipped for possible emergencies.”

Thomas Pflanz, the project coordinator for the Björn Steiger Foundation, emphasized how easy the devices are to use: “Many people are not familiar with AED devices or do not trust themselves to use one. These worries are unfounded. The operation is simple and self-explanatory. Once the device is turned on, it gives clear audible instructions, preventing anything from being done incorrectly. The more people know about these devices and are confident in using them, the more people can be saved.”

For the further course of the project, the Björn Steiger Foundation is dependent on private and commercial sponsors. Because the project can only succeed with the cooperation of the local community members, Pflanz emphasized: “In addition to setting up the AED devices, the foundation project will train the population on the topic of resuscitation. Unmediated cardiac death is ubiquitous. This was brought home to us a few weeks ago during the European Championship match of the Danish national soccer team. That’s why the Björn Steiger Foundation wants to equip as many communities and companies as possible with AED devices throughout Germany to gradually ensure nationwide coverage. The installation of AED devices must be as normalized as fire extinguishers. However, the prerequisite continues to be a spirited commitment by the people.”