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Fairfield County Foundation Grant Supports “Heart Safe” Mission

Community Heart Watch is made up of local healthcare workers, first responders, and civic leaders who are committed to raising awareness about cardiac arrest while increasing access to lifesaving education and equipment, such as AEDs and hands-only CPR training. While Fairfield Medical Center acts as the committee’s fiscal agent, many of their valuable initiatives are funded by donations and grants from organizations across the region. In 2022, the Fairfield County Foundation awarded the group a grant for $19,525 to further their lifesaving mission.

“We are always looking for ways to educate more people, train more workplaces and place more AEDs,” said Community Heart Watch chairperson and FMC community outreach coordinator Teri Watson. “We have seen a massive increase in demand for CPR training as well as local leaders inquiring about ways to buy an AED or maintain their existing device. The Fairfield County Foundation’s grant not only allows us to assist non-profit organizations that might not have the discretionary funds to purchase these important tools, but it has helped solidify our group as a community resource for information and guidance.”

The spike in demand has been closely associated with the on-field collapse of NFL player Damar Hamlin, whose experience with cardiac arrest stunned viewers across the nation in January 2023. Hamlin, who has since recovered, illustrated how unexpectedly the condition can strike. His team of rescuers highlighted the importance of immediate intervention.

“Without bystanders jumping in to perform chest compressions or use an AED at the time of collapse, 9 out of 10 cardiac arrest victims will die,” Teri explained. “Cardiac arrest happens in our communities every day, and we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to help our neighbors survive. Fairfield County Foundation has helped us make that possible.”

Grant monies have been used to place AEDs in area schools and athletic facilities. Funds have also given life to the committee’s new Heart Safe Park initiative, which aims to make community hubs safer in the event of a cardiac emergency. To learn more about CPR training opportunities, contact FMC community educator Resa Tobin at If you are interested in obtaining an AED for your local non-profit or becoming accredited as a Heart Safe, please contact Teri Watson at or by calling 740-687-6929.


Learn more about Community Heart Watch.