Bill Montford, the former Leon County schools superintendent, worked to get every county school equipped with an automated external defibrillator, or AED.
Now that he's moved into downtown Tallahassee, as CEO of the Florida Association of Florida District School Superintendents he's trying to encourage his business neighbors to do the same.
Montford said, "It's important for me personally because I have some heart problems. Interestingly enough, as small as our office is, we have three men here who have heart conditions."
The American Heart Association estimates sudden cardiac arrest kills about 300,000 Americans each year. Ninety five percent of those suffering sudden cardiac arrest died before ever reaching a hospital, but an AED could have been a lifesaver. That's why the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority is asking every downtown business to consider buying an AED through a project it calls "Project Heart Ready."
Marilyn Larson with the Downtown Improvement Authority said, “As a capital city with the number of offices, business and visitors we have here, we felt it was important that we became a heart ready community."
Downtown is where the city wants to start with the goal of spreading the word to the entire community. Montford says he'll be there too to encourage the addition of the lifesaving tool.
The Downtown Improvement Authority has arranged a deal with a defibrillator supplier to make it more affordable for businesses to add an AED and train employees.