The Tucson-based Steven M. Gootter Foundation on Wednesday donated five automatic external defibrillators to Tucson-area schools and nonprofit organizations.

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a potentially life-saving device that can help in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

Among entities that received new AEDs on Wednesday are Basis High School, Congregation Anshei Israel, Cornerstone Christian Academy, the Tucson Children's Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Gootter, a Tucson entrepreneur and father of two, died of sudden cardiac arrest in 2005 on a morning jog. He was 42. The foundation's aim is to spare families the tragedy of losing a loved one this way.

The foundation has raised more than $1 million to fund research projects and create the Steven M. Gootter Endowed Chair for the Prevention and Treatment of Sudden Cardiac Death at the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center.

Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in all industrialized countries of the world, according to Dr. Gordon A. Ewy , director of the UA Sarver Heart Center.

Primary cardiac arrest is characterized by the unexpected collapse of an individual who is not responsive. Victims often gasp, leading many to think they are not in arrest.

But gasping is a sign of minimal blood flow to the brain. One should begin chest-compression-only CPR and call 911. If an AED is available, have someone bring it, Ewy said.