Written by Zack Laielli — Every summer in the month of August, surfers, stand-up paddlers, and bodyboarders gather at the south jetty to participate in the Brigantine Surf Jam, a community surf contest organized by The Brigantine Fire Department IAFF Local #2657. The Surf Jam, now in its 12th year, is a fun-filled day of friendly competitive surfing, and has long been one of the firefighters’ favorite ways of giving something back to their community. This year they are able to give back a little extra.
Through proceeds from entry fees and T-shirt sales, a small savings was built in a non-profit account with a vision of giving something back to the Brigantine community. With public safety being the firefighters’ primary focus, what better way to give back than by donating and installing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the Brigantine ACME Market? This AED is the 14th publicly accessible AED placed throughout the Island by the Brigantine Fire Department; however this is the first to be purchased by the Surf Jam event proceeds, and ultimately provided to the community by the surfers themselves. This was made possible by the large competitor turnout year after year and the support of the Brigantine surfing community volunteers and sponsors.
For those who may be unfamiliar with AEDs, an AED is a piece of lifesaving equipment that has the capability to shock someone’s heart back to a normal rhythm in the event of cardiac arrest. It is easily used by anyone capable of simply pressing a button and following voice prompts. It’s so easy even a surfer can do it! The Brigantine Fire Department’s intention of the numerous public accessible AEDs is to increase the chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims through early defibrillation and activation of the emergency response system.
The Surf Jam committee looks forward to giving back to the Brigantine community in new creative ways each year, and would be happy to hear any suggestions anyone may have. For information on CPR/AED education, The Brigantine Fire Department Initiative for a Heartsafe community, or the Brigantine Surf Jam, you can contact Captain Tim Daley or Firefighter Zack Laielli at the Brigantine Fire Department, 609-266-2814. See you in the surf!