A San Diego Lifeguards rescue vehicle. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

San Diego lifeguards received nearly $13,000 in life- saving equipment from a local donor to celebrate 20 years of the San Diego Project Heart Beat program, it was announced Tuesday.

The San Diego County Toyota Dealers Association donated seven automatic external defibrillators to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Lifeguard Division to provide awareness about the importance and use of the equipment — the mission of San Diego Project Heart Beat.

“San Diego Project Heart Beat has helped our lifeguards build confidence and awareness around the use of AEDs to create the greatest possible survivability rates among sudden cardiac arrest victims,” Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland said.

The program is nationally recognized for work done to educate and manage AEDs. Some of the program’s achievements include providing more than 9,500 AEDs to the public and potentially saving hundreds of lives as a result of San Diego lifeguards’ education efforts, officials said.

“We are proud to support this life-saving organization that is impacting our city in such positive ways,” said Ivan Mendelson, president of the Toyota dealers association. “We hope that this donation recognizing San Diego Project Heart Beat’s 20th anniversary encourages others to support their mission to empower our community’s use of early defibrillation in crisis situations.”

To learn more about San Diego Project Heart Beat or courses with the program, visit sandiego.gov/sdprojectheartbeat.

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