A heart attack can happen to anyone at anytime, and as a result Hackensack Meridian Health officials are ramping up efforts to teach the public how to use a defibrillator to help save lives at public events.

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'The Community of Lifesavers Program' trains High School Students and other members of the community on how to use a defibrillator and when to do so.

Chief of Cardiology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, Dr. Dawn Calderon says knowing how is a critical step in saving a life.

"It's an Automated-External-Defibrillator, meaning that it has its own computerized sequence of events that it goes through in order to determine whether or not it's important to give a shock to revive the person," said Calderon.

She adds the A.E.D. machine will then coach you through using it and help save a life.

Knowing how to use a defibrillator is a critical step in saving someone whose suffering a heart attack on scene.

"The reason a defibrillator is so important is because as soon as there is this electrical inactivity in the heart, everything else in the body also stops," said Calderon.

She adds it's vital to have bystanders on scene be informed and know how to help a victim until paramedics arrive.

"Brain damage and brain cell death can start occurring within five minutes," said Calderon. "If we can get a defibrillator on the scene, the chances of us saving someone go up 300-percent."

She urges any bystanders to act if they see someone in trouble.

"One of these A.E.D.'s can really save a life," said Calderon. "All you need to do is to make the decision that you're going to get involved."

All you have to do on scene, she says, is turn the machine on and follow the instructions it gives you.

"Biggest Loser" host Bob Harper is living proof a heart attack has no allies and now advocates for the use of a defibrillator which is what saved his life.

'The Community of Lifesavers Program' teaches the community how to perform this life saving measure.

"Anyone can learn this," said Calderon. "We've taught girl scout troops and thousands of high school students."

If your interested in learning how to operate an A.E.D. machine, Calderon says you can call your local American Heart Association Agency, First Aid Squad or them directly.

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