When Morris Argalgi told a friend he had an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), he set in motion a campaign for every Jewish school in Montreal to have at least two defibrillators.
This past Wednesday night, a group of staff from Montreal’s Lubavitch Yeshiva practiced chest compressions and mouth to mouth on training mannequins. It was part of a CPR and AED course organized by Yeshiva parent Shmarya Plotkin, who aims to get at least two defibrillators inside every Jewish school in Montreal.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, when combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more. For every one minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7 to 10%. After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate is less than 5%. A landmark study of the City of Chicago airports public access to AED program showed survival rates as high as 75%. For that reason, every school should have at least one defibrillator on the property because lives are saved on a daily basis due to immediate access to defibrillation.
Plotkin had been approached a short time earlier by Argalgi, who asked his friend what he should do with an extra state of the art AED. Plotkin immediately thought of his son studying in the Lubavitch Yeshiva on Westbury.
“I told him, ‘the Yeshiva can use one,'” recalled Plotkin, who decided that if the Yeshiva would receive a defibrillator, its staff ought to know how to use it. He contacted the Yeshiva board who quickly approved a CPR and AED training session.
Plotkin soon discovered that Beth Rivkah also had no AEDs. He started making calls to Jewish schools around the city. Only three of the six he called had an AED. “These days more and more children have heart issues,” noted Plotkin. “The AED can literally save your child’s life.”
As a certified instructor for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Plotkin taught the CPR and AED course for free to members of the Yeshiva staff. The first session opened with Efraim Shizgal of the Yeshiva board thanking Argalgi for his donation. Argalgi then joined the staff in the vital lifesaving course.
The course of the Yeshiva staff was only the first of what Plotkin hopes will become many, with the goal of having at least two defibrillators inside every Jewish school and training the staff of every school on CPR and how to use the AED. “As a parent and Hatzoloh paramedic, I feel it’s very important that schools be up to date and staff trained for what to do in a medical emergency,” said Plotkin. “It’s our children, spending most of their time awake in the schools. The teachers and school staff are responsible for the children and if G-d forbid something happens to a child they should know what to do.”
As of now, one AED device has been donated to the Yeshiva, and Lubavitch Yeshiva staff have started their training. The staff of Beth Rivkah are also going to be trained and Plotkin is looking for more defibrillators. If you would like to give an AED or donate towards one for your child’s school, please contact Shmarya Plotkin at 514-574-1770.