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Jim Schatzle is the Founder, Business Development Officer and Senior Instructor of a highly motivated group of health care professionals dedicated to saving lives by providing quality training, life-saving products, education and management to businesses, emergency services personnel, and the lay public.
TEAM LIFE, INC. is one of the most established and trusted names in emergency health training and products. Based out of New Jersey, TEAM LIFE has extensive health and safety experience both in the United States and internationally.
MO: What inspired you to found TEAM LIFE, INC.? How has your background and experience contributed to the development and success of the company?
Jim: I started my civic duty by being in a first-aid squad at age 16 which taught me to give back to the community. I found it gratifying when I was able to be on hand to help save a life. I was also exposed to all kinds of unfortunate, preventable accidents and I developed a passion to help change and prevent the outcome of these everyday accidental situations. Rarely will someone take the time to stop and try to make the environment safer and then figure out a way to fix it. I felt this need. After I graduated from college, I opened my business in 1994 and was on a mission. Giving back to the community grew from that because this vocation is more than a job, it is a passion; it becomes a way of life. This is why I am successful at what I do. I fully believe that safety comes first and I practice what I preach by being a safety role-model. I wear my seat-belt; obey the rules of the road… I have to be serious about safe living because I train thousands of people in CPR each year. As a parent, it is particularly gratifying to have another parent come up to me and say that because of one of my training classes, they were able to save their choking child. It makes it all worth it.
MO: How has TEAM LIFE evolved since you started way back in 1994?
Jim: Back then, TEAM LIFE was a home based business and I was the sole employee. Today, the company has evolved into a brick and mortar business with four full time employees and 15 instructors. We have gone from a CPR training company and expanded to a full service Emergency Action Plan Company. Providing site assessment, training, and equipment such as AEDs (defibrillators) and first aid kits is the focus of our business. We have also become very “21st Century” by venturing into the world of mobile technology. Last year, we launched our very first Smartphone “rescue” TEAM LIFE CPR App to help combat the low survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest. This is only the beginning!
MO: Why is it so important to have an emergency plan in place? What are some good tips in putting one together?
Jim: Every 90 seconds in America someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest. Every 2.2 seconds, a request for an ambulance is placed through 911. Emergencies happen every day – it’s just a matter of time that you will be involved in a situation where you will be able to assist someone if you are trained and equipped. Many years ago in 1999, I heard a first-aid call while I was driving in the car. Since I was close by, I went directly to the site of the call at a restaurant. They did not have an emergency plan in place. By chance, I had an AED in the car with me since I was selling them. I was able to save the life of a man experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. He might not be alive today had I not been in the vicinity. We still keep in touch today. It’s a special feeling to know that because I was in the right place at the right time with the right equipment, someone’s life was saved. Saving someone’s life indirectly affects the lives of so many others.
Tips: Hiring a company that has a strong back ground in emergency action plans is the best step. For instance, the entire TEAM LIFE staff is emergency medical trained, from EMT’s, Paramedics, and Nurses. That is a very important consideration when looking for a company to help you implement your safety plan.
MO: Can you share a surprising truth or a little known fact about your industry?
Jim: Many businesses still do not have an emergency plan in place. Even businesses that have had a serious emergency, and maybe even an employee or customer death, still do not put in place an emergency action plan. It’s a shame because in the time it takes an ambulance to arrive, it is oftentimes too late. If employees were better prepared and equipped to handle certain crises and medical emergencies for personnel or patrons, more lives could be saved. It is cost-effective in the long run for companies to have the right equipment on hand such as an AED, rather than to realize that they should have had a plan after it is too late. TEAM LIFE puts together something called a Medical Emergency Response Team (M.E.R.T.) for companies and organization. When we go to a particular company, in addition to doing a site survey to learn the physical structure, we custom tailor a rescue program for the internal team should any type of accident occur. There is nothing better for businesses than to be prepared for emergencies, especially when you are dealing with the general public. Knowledge is power when it comes to saving lives and every business should have this knowledge.
MO: What are the most common emergency situations that you see which could have been easily avoided?
Jim: One of the biggest frustrations of my job is when I see preventable accidents happen over and over such as drinking and driving, teens (and adults too) texting and driving, children drowning in backyard swimming pools. Too often I hear, “I only took my eyes off of him for a second.” It’s truly heart-breaking and frustrating…and is 100 percent preventable.
We are often called when someone is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It is the number one killer in America and accounts for approximately 365,000 deaths per year (1,000 a day). It takes an ambulance 8-12 minutes on average to get to the victim, but within that time-frame, brain damage sets in four minutes after the heart stops beating. Unfortunately, there is only a five percent survival rate. The American Heart Association says that 70 percent of Americans do not know what to do in that situation because either they don’t know CPR or their training has lapsed. They call 911 and stand around helplessly watching their loved one, co-worker or stranger on the street losing their struggle for life. That scenario can now play out differently.
I was so frustrated by having to tell families that it was too late and wanted to figure out a way to move the needle of survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest. In the digital age in which we live, I thought there was a real need for a CPR “rescue” App that was unlike any other CPR Apps on the market. The TEAM LIFE CPR App is unique in the fact that it provides visual and audible prompts. All somebody has to do is press one button on their Smartphone and they are guided in how to perform CPR, counting compressions—in real time, as it is occurring. The App enables people to be pro-active and to be able to help someone stricken by sudden cardiac arrest by bringing a sense of calm to a chaotic situation. There is no guesswork involved. There is no reading and scrolling. Through the development of my rescue App, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival can be doubled or tripled. Guilt is alleviated from the equation because no longer do people have to wonder “what if;” the solution is right at their fingertips should this occur.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for TEAM LIFE?
Jim: I feel I am at the pinnacle of my career right now. I have more Apps on the horizon, particularly designed to assist parents in emergency situations. It’s an exciting time right now since more and more people are using their Smartphones and interacting through social media. A recent study indicated that more people are browsing their Smartphones than the Internet which makes it a perfect vehicle for us to share our life-saving techniques, particularly the App. Social media is so exciting and relevant to the success of my business right now because it enables my customers to share information about the “rescue” App and about the life-saving services we offer. Anyone from a kid in college to a home-caregiver can benefit and spread the word. It creates a snowball effect. If we can educate a multitude of individuals to be ready in time of emergencies, just imagine how many more lives can be saved and touched. By empowering people with the TEAM LIFE CPR App, anyone can be a hero; it just doesn’t get any better than that!
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