Ron Rubin is a vintner on a mission – supplying wineries with life-saving portable devices that send electrical shocks through the chest cavity to hearts in distress.
Rubin, of Ron Rubin Winery in Green Valley whose family also owns The Republic of Tea, began distributing free automated external defibrillators to wineries in Sonoma County last fall. Last week Rubin expanded the program to include wineries in Napa, Solano, Lake, Marin and Mendocino counties.
Participating wineries agree to pay the costs of training their employees on how to use the AEDs and how to administer CPR and first-aid. The American Red Cross charges $60 per employee for the training – a discounted rate.
Rubin’s “Trained for ‘Saving Lines’” program initially set out to distribute the $1,700 AEDs at no charge to Sonoma County’s 450 wineries.
So far, 89 wineries have received the AEDs. All but two are in Sonoma County.
“I think 89 is a pretty good number,” Rubin said.
Rubin knows first-hand what it is like to have a cardiac emergency. In 2009, Rubin was rushed to Marin General Hospital after Rubin suffered an onset of ventricular tachycardia – a condition that causes the heart beat faster than normal. Rubin’s son, Todd, called 911.
Ron Rubin recalled he had run 20 miles the day before to prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon in St. Paul, Minn.
Rubin was administered shocks in the emergency room. Todd, who is now president of The Republic of Tea, saved his life, Rubin said.
An implantable defibrillator was later implanted in his chest. Rubin, who no longer runs marathons, created “Trained for ‘Saving Lines’” to make sure all wineries in Sonoma County have access to an AED.
“I wanted to give back to Sonoma County,” said Rubin, 68.
He decided to expand the program to other counties after receiving requests from wineries outside Sonoma County.
Rubin has been able to spread the word in part thanks to wine trade associations.
The Napa Valley Vintners, for instance, in April plan to inform its members about Rubin’s AED program.
Mark Miranda, strategic account executive at the American Red Cross – Northern California/Bay Area, said the program was all Rubin’s idea. “This is completely unique,” Miranda said.
He estimated about 300 people have received AED/CPR/first-aid training through the program.
“He spared no expense,” said Miranda, referring to the $1,700 AEDs.
Wineries interested in participating in the AED program should contact Ron Rubin at firstname.lastname@example.org