Greater Pittsburgh and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Firefighters to Compete in Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Hockey Game to Support the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

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Greater Pittsburgh area firefighters will compete with Johnstown, PA, firefighters in the inaugural Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Classic on June 25 in Pittsburgh. Proceeds will support the nonprofit Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. The public is invited.

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Pennsylvania firefighters will compete at the Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Classic in Pittsburgh on June 25.

When we saw the work that the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation was doing to raise awareness and save lives, we had to get behind them, and what better way than through some friendly competition!

The inaugural Steel City Fire on Ice Charity Classic will take place on Saturday, June 25, at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh. Firefighters from greater Pittsburgh and firefighters from Johnstown, PA, will compete in a hockey game to raise funds for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, a national non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh. The faceoff will take place at 7:00 pm.

“Not only do we, as first responders, see the effects of cardiac arrest in our communities first hand, cardiac-related deaths are the number one killer in the fire service,” said Nick Gerstel, a North Strabane and Penn Hills firefighter. “When we saw the work that the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation was doing to raise awareness and save lives, we had to get behind them, and what better way than through some friendly competition!” He is organizing the event, along with Dennis Dunmire, Moon Run VFC firefighter, and Glen Eger, North Strabane and Presto firefighter. Gerstel saved the life of Penn Hills resident Mike Dulaney in 2012.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, without warning. It affects about 1,000 people each day in the U.S., including many young people and athletes. Unfortunately, only 10 percent of victims survive. Those who do pull through invariably received immediate treatment with CPR and a defibrillator. Incidence and survival rates in Pittsburgh reflect the national average.

Fortunately, there is a slowly growing community of cardiac arrest victims in the Pittsburgh area who did survive, thanks to immediate bystander action with CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and effective EMS response.

“I owe my life to two bystanders, amazing EMS responders, and the support of my family and friends,” said Susan Koeppen, KDKA TV news anchor and National Spokesperson for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Koeppen experienced cardiac arrest in November 2011 at the age of 39 when she was training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. She will be speaking at the game, along with Beth Sutton, Skating Director at RMU Island Sports Center, a friend of Susan's who was with her at the time of her event.

Prior to the game, from 5:00-6:30 pm, there will be a meeting of the Southwestern PA Affiliate of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Survivors, family members, and other advocates are welcome to attend. CPR-AED demonstrations will be provided for the public.

The Affiliate’s purpose is to advance the Foundation’s mission to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and help save lives at a local level. “We aim to provide a safe place for people affected by sudden cardiac arrest to share their experiences, find support, and work to save other lives,” said Affiliate Coordinator, Renee DeMichiei Farrow.

Tickets for the game cost $10 and may be purchased through participating firefighters, online, or at the door. Participation in the meeting is free, but registration is appreciated. To register, contact the email address shown in Contact section.

About the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a national community benefit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and saving lives. Programs include educational campaigns for secondary schools and colleges and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Network, an online community that provides peer support and opportunities for survivors and family members to participate in awareness, advocacy, and research initiatives.

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Mary Newman
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