Letter: Wedding Halls Must be Equipped with AEDs and Emergency Phones

I am writing this as an emt who has responded to multiple emergencies at wedding halls over the years.

As you probably read last week, a wedding nearly ended in tragedy r”l when the father of the kalllah suddenly collapsed during dancing.

B”H the right angels were there at the right time, and he was saved. One of the tools that saved him was an AED (also known as a defibrillator).

But as an emt it struck me, why are all halls not equipped with these devices? Just like we have them in schools and other public venues, we must have them in halls. In addition, halls should also be equipped with emergency phones (the red ones which you just lift and it automatically calls Hatzolah).

We need to do our hishtadlus and Hashem will do the rest.

Thank you,

A longtime EMT in Lakewood.

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  1. I agree about the AED but don’t understand about the phone.
    Every guest & family member has a phone & dozens of not hundreds of the guests have Hatzala’s number in their phone or know it.
    Being cautious is great getting carried away is not.

  2. How about said wedding hall that shall remain nameless fix their phone service issues then you won’t need an emergency phone. Everyone today is a proud owner of a cell phone. Emergency phones are obsolete

    • Emergency phones are definitely not obsolete – maybe just more needed in shuls than halls.
      Firstly, most people don’t carry phones on Shabbos.
      Second, a phone that calls directly is a great option because when there is an emergency, people often get flustered and forget the number or just shaking too much to dial straight.
      Bottom line, the red phones are a great tool that should never be needed but should always be on hand – just like the AED.

      • How about people taking courses in CPR and AED? It’s not just for Hatzolah members. There are free courses and one’s that charge. It’s amazing to me – that the bystanders waited to find a Hatzolah member, that was there, before he got any medical care.

        • I did take a course in CPR and AED, but that doesn’t negate what I wrote earlier. Not everyone took a course, and people still get flustered and confused or nervous.

        • It’s not amazing… its terribly frightening. A week later I cannot get over what I had witnessed. Lessons must be learned from this and actions must be taken. I would suggest perhaps- and I’m sure there are people with resources out there that would definately help sponsor such a thing – that some Hatzolah members (and they can get paid without anyone having to know) would agree to give weekly CPR courses (and refresher courses to some) so there’s a decent amount of people out there that know CPR so if c”v the situation presents itself there’s a better chance that someone would be in the right place at the right time.. However I’m still of the opinion of having a Hatzolah member stationed at these wedding halls. In my view thats the are best way forward..

  3. Agree that an AED is necessary in public venues. Emergency phones are needed in shuls and yeshivas, because of Shabbos and Yom Tov emergencies and where personal phones are prohibited weekdays

  4. I commend the EMT for writing this letter and bringing this discussion back to the forefront. Ever since the near tragic incident at last Tuesday night’s wedding that I had watched unfold and yet stood there helpless as did the many others that were standing there I felt a real need for someone to bring up again this topic even as others and myself discussed it on the earlier comments on the story as it broke on TLS. However the fact that an EMT is writing this letter now should carry some weight. However as I proposed on my earlier comments that I still think that perhaps there should be an active Hatzolah member stationed at all of these far out halls any night that there is a wedding. I know its a tough call to make (pun intended) to have every night members on duty but not every medical emergency is an emergency that just requires the use of an AED. In fact this very hall had another emergency the following night at a wedding where a guest fell down some stairs and needed medical attention and Hatzolah was again needed. So I would love to hear perhaps from Hatzolah members themselves if they feel (a) it’s necessary to have a member on hand… and (b) if it’s something that is doable given the amount of weddings there are in Lakewood on any given night.

  5. of course you need a clearly marked dedicated emergency landline you cannot rely on borrowing a cell and figuring out how to use it while the owner’s text messages keep on beeping into the phone call all of which wastes precious minutes and in general causes confusion especially when EMT calls back that number and the real owner says i dunno somebody borrowed the phone…

  6. Stupid comments. Our cell phones are full of unnecessary texts coming in from every shul in Lakewood we ever stepped into, all family chats and other norishkeit. let alone then finding Hatzalah’s number and making sure the service works…
    Those red emergency phone are a great idea.

    • For all the people that are requesting CPR courses, there is such a course given in Lakewood. The Lakewood scoop has advertised this many times and many courses were given.. If you organize a course in your neighborhood, either men or women, I will come and teach the course at no charge. 25 people are needed to form the course. The course is not for certification . Call or text 908-670-1791.chaim kaisman

  7. I live out of town. Hatzalah frequently gives updated CPR courses for a minimum fee. Day camp counselors, babysitters, Morahs and even parents should know the basics of CPR. 30 compressions, 2 breaths.

  8. Every school and shul should have an AED just like they have fire extinguishers.

    Every teacher and Rebbe should be trained in CPR before school starts. Then you will have more people able to help at weddings…

  9. Be careful of the Red emergency phone!
    Many moons ago I was taking a tour of the Whitehouse & saw a medical emergency.
    I ran over to the red emergency phone & was surprised that on the other end instead of Hatzala was a man with a thick Russian accent. We ended up arguing about nuclear stockpiles, capitalism vs communism & how the USA “Stole” Alaska.
    He asked if any Jews live in the USA?
    I said yes & that the Jews even have the same rights as everyone else. He laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe. Then he told me how great a comedian I am. When I told him I’m Jewish he let out a primal scream & the line went dead.

  10. I have seen many balei simcha hire an emergency responder for the duration of their simcha. In the big picture it’s a small expense that’s worth every penny.

  11. CM – Maybe some would give their time, but Most wouldn’t. Because it’s a volunteer organization. Do you understand that? They probably feel that they give enough of their own time to the community.
    Now back to my original comment. No one came forward to help a Yid on the ground, until they found a Hatzolah guy.
    Btw, I wasn’t there, but it appears that No one knew CPR. I’ll tell you something – when I first became a Medical Professional – I’d shake treating patients.
    So the more you get involved by taking courses, like CPR & First Aid and practicing by yourself every month, the more your confidence Grows!
    There is No excuse that everyone thinks – Hatzolah will help, but No one else has to!

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