ROBBINSVILLE,, NJ – David Ackerman, of Morris Plains, a security officer at CCM, came to the aid of Joan Cunningham, of North Caldwell, then dean of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences, when she suffered a heart attack during a meeting at the college, collapsing and becoming unconscious. First, Dr. Dwight Smith, of Randolph, vice president of Academic Affairs, responded by starting immediate CPR as soon as he saw Cunningham collapse. Ackerman, along with Security Sergeant Charles Munk, of Hackettstown, rushed to the scene prepared with an AED in hand. Ackerman and Munk applied the AED which administered a shock. Soon after, the ambulance squad, paramedics and police arrived and Cunningham was transported to the hospital.

Ackerman, Munk along with thirty-nine individuals and organizations in New Jersey were recently honored at the American Heart Association 2016 New Jersey American Heartsaver Awards for their life-saving efforts. 

The American Heart Association’s American Heartsaver Awards is held annually to commend individuals, organizations and schools throughout the Garden State for taking extraordinary steps to strengthen the American Heart Association Chain of Survival or for rescue efforts that saved a life of someone experiencing a cardiac emergency.

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According to the American Heart Association, the Chain of Survival is only as strong as its weakest link. The Chain of Survival is a critical five-step process that can mean the difference between life and death for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke, as well as other medical emergencies such as choking and drowning. The five critical steps or “links” in the Chain of Survival include:

Link # 1: Early Access (know the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately)

Link # 2: Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Link # 3: Early Defibrillation

Link # 4: Early Advanced Care

Link # 5: Integrated Post-Cardiac Arrest Care

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10 percent survive. Given immediately, CPR doubles or triples survival rates and executing the Chain of Survival can save thousands of lives annually.