Charbert employees were trained by the Red Cross to use the AEDs they now have at both of their Rhode Island plants. From left, Bonnie Joslin, Director of Human Resources, Gary Benevides, Dyer, Gerry Mehlen-bacher, Dye Technician, and Bill Rowan, Vice-President of Operations.


 The Red Cross has trained the employees of the following workplaces in AED:
Taylor Box
Cooley, Inc.
Charbert, Inc.
Tecknor Apex
Microfibers, Inc.
Town of Coventry
Newport City Hall
Tennis Hall of Fame
Wal Mart of Middletown
Pawtucket Mutual Insurance
Providence Police Academy

 Hoping History Won’t Repeat Itself
A Tragic Loss Leads to Charbert’s Gain of Two AEDs

Imagine seeing one of your co-workers collapse right on the factory floor…and no one nearby knows how to save him.

Over twenty years later, that tragic memory still haunts Bill Rowan, Vice-President of Operations for Charbert Corporation, the textile manufacturer based in Wood River Junction.

“I was working in Pennsylvania, and the guy was standing right at the time clock and had a heart attack,” he recalls. “He died because no one knew CPR. It was just tragic. Here’s this guy that I knew and liked and all of a sudden he’s gone. I just never forgot that.”

Rowan is making sure history doesn’t repeat itself. He recently purchased two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) from the Red Cross for use in Charbert’s Peacedale and Alton plants.

“It just seemed to us like the responsible thing to do,” he explained. “We have 160 employees and some of them are getting up there (in age). I think you may really regret a decision not to do it (install AEDs) if something bad ever happened.”

Rowan says the decision to purchase the two AEDs and Red Cross training for 19 employees was solidified by the enthusiasm of two people he works with.

“We have a great relationship with a local doctor in Westerly who performs physicals and comes every flu season to give shots here at the plants…he put a bug in my ear about the AED,” Rowan explains. “And our human resources director was very excited about training our employees to provide this life saving technique at Charbert.”

Bonnie Joslin, Director of Human Resources at Charbert, shares the story of one 40-year employee, who recently returned to work, after suffering a major heart attack.

“When his daughter questioned whether he was ready to return to work he informed her, ‘I feel safer there than at home. At least they have the machine and know how to shock me if anything happens,’” Joslin recalls.

Rowan says the worst thing a company can have is the “it will never happen here” mentality.

“I’ve seen —first hand—someone lose his life as his co-workers stood by helplessly,” he said. “Employers really need to think about the safety of the people who work for them…you just never know the life you may save.”

For more information about purchasing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and AED training, please contact Mark V. Francesconi at the Red Cross (401.831.7700 ext. 123 or [email protected]).

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