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Town Refuses Defibrillators at Memorial Park

Town denies local youth organization's request to install two life saving units.

After Kings Park Youth board member John McQuaid made the town of Smithtown an offer he thought they couldn’t refuse – that his organization would like to pay for two Automated External Defibrillators to be installed on a town park where their teams play ball – he got a very unexpected response: The town refused.

“It’s a liability,” said town attorney John Zollo.

McQuaid recently wrote the town a letter, explaining that the organization would pay for the life saving units at Memorial Park in Kings Park and would be willing to maintain them. The town, responded in a letter, denying the request, but did not offer an explanation, prompting McQuaid to appear at last week’s town board meeting.

The denial was issued by deputy attorney, Matthew Jakubowski. Zollo, who said he discussed the issue with Jakubowski, was under the impression that KPY wanted sole use of the units. McQuaid clarified the letter, stating anyone who was trained could use it and the group was willing to cover the cost of training and maintaining the units.

Zollo, maintained his belief that the liability risk was still too great.

“KPY should bring it there and take it back so the town does not bear the burden of the responsibility or the extreme potential for liability in respect to this," said Zollo. "So I thought it was prudent that the town deny the request."

Town Councilman Ed Wehrheim agreed with Zollo, who advises, but does not make policy, on the decision.

“The problem for the town is leaving it on the facility," said Wehrheim. "There is no possible way that we can ever ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with. Then someone who is trained goes to use it and it fails. We would assume a tremendous amount of liability. If you just did it at Memorial Park then every other league would expect the same thing.”

According to cardiacscience.com, all 50 states have Good Samaritan laws that encourage AED use by protecting laypersons who use a defibrillator to respond to a medical emergency.

Patch contacted neighboring Town of Brookhaven about their handling of AED units on town property. Spokesperson Jack Kreiger said the Town of Brookhaven has them at town pools, recreation centers , beaches and summer camp program locations.

“The Town of Brookhaven is fully committed to the availability and use of AED units in the event that there is a need. Our Town Safety Officer inspects the units and provides the necessary training to our employees that work where the devices are located,” said Kreiger.

Zollo and Werheim both suggested the organization bring the units back and forth to games, but McQuaid said having more than 1,000 kids and 65 teams made that difficult and questioned the sensibility of the decision, noting that public schools are required to have them.

Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the law doesn’t apply to towns.

McQuaid said he was aware other towns had begun placing them on town property.

“They may not be as diligent as we are,” said Vecchio. “It is not a question of being sued. We have a fiduciary responsibility to every citizen of the town.”

Councilman Thomas McCarty asked the town’s attorney to take a look at the Good Samaritan Law to see if it would apply here. Vecchio said the town would revisit the issue.

“I guess we have to measure that with it wasn’t tampered with and it saves a kids life," said McQuaid. "Are we being a bit too conservative in covering our legal areas?”

Joe Napolitano May 03, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Another idiot attorney. all youth sports groups that play in kings park parks should refuse to play there.
Joe Zboch May 03, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Hey guys, I have started a petition for Smithtown to reverse this ridiculous decision. Sign it here. : http://www.change.org/petitions/smithtown-ny-city-council-reverse-town-s-decision-that-denies-free-life-saving-aeds-for-youths Please share and spread the word!
Thunder Buddies May 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
What most of these comments seem to be confusing is the term "liability". The Town is not buying the AEDs - the youth organization is. AEDs cost approximately $2,000 a piece. They are something worth stealing. Or tampering with. It would be a shame if the AEDs were in place and parts were stolen. If security is assigned to fields and has to unlock bathrooms or field gates, then add carrying an AED in their car or placing on-site as part of their job. Schools in NY State are required by law (Louis' Law) to have AEDs on property - they actually aren't carried out to the fields. Youth Sports organizations carry them to/from games...Well, SOME organizations. Not all. Not all sports groups require CPR or AED training, let alone own AEDs. Every see a child or adult go down on a field?! Suddenly you are a mile away from everything and helpless. Having the right equipment available is key!
CBO May 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM
To those opposed to having AED'S on all playing fields, PUT YOUR LOVED ONES INTO CARDIAC ARREST AND SEE HOW FAST YOUR MIND WILL CHANGE!
new guy May 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM
this thread is going off track a little. nobody ever said that AED's are no good or that they should'nt be on the fields. its great that KPY can purchase them. i think the town does'nt want the burden or to be responsable for this expensive equiptment. can KPY transport them to the fields? they do work off a schedule for games and practices. so many of the above comments allude to the politicans and laywers are against having AED's on the fields. i would think that a logical person would see that not to be true. i hope KPY can figure out a way to have them on the fields.
Bill May 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Hey Home town, its incredible how against the idea of these lifesaving devices being placed in the parks you are. You have a reason and scenario against them no matter what anyone says. My favorite one is when you said the town employee could be playing with it with his friend and get hurt. This only proves how little you know about AED's and how anti AED you are. If this is your position then the town better take the rakes away from the park attendants so they dont beat thier friends with it as well. Go educate yourself on what exactly an AED is, how it works and the laws that are in place reguarding liability !!
new guy May 04, 2012 at 03:13 PM
here bill i'll repost my previous comments.... to be honest...i didnt know that. thanks. i do know that vanadlism is an ongoing problem at the town parks and beaches. i understand why the town attorney is against having them in the parks. when and if a AED gets stolen from an attendents room, who will pay for the replacement? i'm sure that all involved are not just anti safety for our kids. you just need to be open minded about the liability. mike i made that mistake...i was'nt aware of that. thanks. still why is the town "stupid" for not having these in the parks. why cant KPY, who by the way make a fair amount of money off the kids supply and maintain the AED's. the towns not in the buissness of saving lives. its just that simple. they are providing fields to be played on. thats all.
new guy May 04, 2012 at 03:14 PM
so bill tell me why KPY can't transport and keep safe their own expensive AED's.
new guy May 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
i think for you bill this more about the politicans and town laywers then it is about the AED's.
Craig May 04, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Home town - you don't understand what I am saying. I am not saying that the town should be held liable if someone dies because there was no AED. I am saying, there is as much likelihood, if not more of a likelihood, that the town would be sued because they specifically denied having AEDs than if they had it and something went wrong with it. On you other point, KPY has already said they would maintain the AED - so the town needs to do nothing to make this happen other than say 'yes'. Sorry, I can't make sense of your ambulance point.
Bill May 04, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Hey Hometown "the towns not in the business of saving lives" the stupidity that spews out of you in absolutely amazing. If so then why do they employ lifeguards, can you answer that one, or how about the Bay Constalbe and public safety officers, are you suggesting that they wont save someone in need, not likely. About the Politicians, I could care less, cant even name them all. Its more about my 4 children who use Smithtown parks for KPY and other activities.
new guy May 04, 2012 at 09:33 PM
GOOD FOR YOU BILL. the town supplys the fields for these organizations....thats it! how about you answer my question, why can't KPY carry the AED's with them? everyone here is saying how irresponsible it is of the town to not want to take on the burden of being responsable for these AED's, i'll flip it around for you, i think its pretty irresponsible of KPY to have sport programs for so long without carrying these AED's to fields. for years they have been using town parks for their sport programs. if its sooooooo important for KPY, then i would think they will find a way to have them on the fields.i think you care less about the AED's and more about beating up town employees and politicians and the towns laywers. take a nap bill, your sounding a little cranky.
Bill May 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Look at where ARD's are required to be in place as per New York State law. Do you really think that public parks are far behind. Wouldnt it be great if the Town of Smithtown were pioneers on this one, and maybe even save a life or 2 in the process.
Bill May 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Not only ARD's but AED's, maybe I do need a nap !
Chris May 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Just got home from my child's practice at a town park. I watched the "Attendant" lock the door to his room and walk out to the parking lot to hang out with his friends i understand this is a regular event at this park. Last week I watch the "Attendant" playing basketball at another town park. It makes feel so good that my taxes are paying for these hard working young men! I remember when I was involved in sports the attendants would be out there picking up garbage, lining and raking the fields. Where have we gone wrong!!
new guy May 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
chris, call town hall or the parks dept. your right these kids should be picking up trash. also bill feel free to answer my question in the above post.
Bill May 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Why would each team carry one when they can easily be available in the park for all town residents use and not limiting it to just KPY teams.
I know May 05, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Yes just get the damn device it's a no brainer you ignorant fools! It saves lives period. That lawyer should put on his chest and see if it goes off - it will not! Get a clue
new guy May 05, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Oh bill.... Are you sure your not a politician? How about answering my question? The town wants nothing to do with it. So with the out pouring of support why can't someone within KPY be in charge of making sure these expensive life saving devices are on the fields? Another thing to consider is sometimes an attendant is taking care of more than one park at a time. Let's say these AED's are locked up in the attendants room and the attendant is at another park. Who will have the key for the attendants room? Picture that, the AED is needed but it's locked up in a cabinet inside the attendants room. Guess who's getting sued....THE TOWN & the taxpayers will have to foot the bill and someone at the park could suffer for that. I've seen attendants Lock the center room when they line the fields because other kids (of coarse not being watched by their parents) would be in the center room stealing or doing damage to the room. So it's really not cut and dry. God bless KPY for paying for the AED's....they just need a way that they can have complete control of the equipment.
kpbs May 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM
The town of Smithtown is there own little mafia. 1st off as everyone knows, you have to know someone to get In, when someone retires or goes up in position there best friend is waiting to take there place, even thought they still have to list the job as available and take app's (even know its going to joe blow's pal already) Another thing, Some young greenhorns who start, put there 2 years in, then seem too fly up the latter faster then most the 36 year olds. Then ofcourse everyone under them, Hates them. All politic bullshit. Ever see the property our towns park dept bigwig live's in? His backyard is sunken meadow. Must be nice
kpbs May 06, 2012 at 01:14 PM
The town of Smithtown is there own little mafia. 1st off as everyone knows, you have to know someone to get In, when someone retires or goes up in position there best friend is waiting to take there place, even thought they still have to list the job as available and take app's (even know its going to joe blow's pal already) Another thing, Some young greenhorns who start, put there 2 years in, then seem too fly up the latter faster then most the 36 year olds. Then ofcourse everyone under them, Hates them. All politic bs. Ever see the property our towns park dept bigwig live's in? His backyard is sunken meadow. Must be nice
Bill May 06, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Hometown sure is sounding more and more like a town rep using terms like center room.
kpbs May 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
yeah hometown looks like he works in the hometown of smithtowns public safety, courts or dept buildings
new guy May 06, 2012 at 05:19 PM
yep bill....the term "center room" is a secret code for the CENTER ROOM of the building. you must be a detective. so bill feel free to answer my question already.... @ kpbs....smithtown mafia? you my friend sound like a angry older person who works for the town and has been pased over for promotions because of your rotton attitude. sounds like the young guys in your dept are really getting to you. so sad.
Bill May 07, 2012 at 12:34 PM
" You can get a pretty good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking your head up a bulls A**, but i'd rather take the butchers word for it "
new guy May 07, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Sounds like you have the kids best intrest at heart bill....
new guy May 07, 2012 at 03:31 PM
KPY must be pleased to have a spokesman like you for this issue. Make sure you delete your comment, like a good kittle coward.
Bill May 07, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Nah, far from a spokesman, your the one with noones interest at heart. I'm done with you !!
Bill May 07, 2012 at 05:38 PM
But thanks for the entertainment
Thunder Buddies May 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
It's not always a blow to the chest that's the problem. There was just a story of a young girl choking on her front lawn and being revived. There are kid who have collapsed while running the bases, playing basketball, and other non-contact sports.

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