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Defibrillators Now Part of American Steamship Company's First Aid Kit

CHICAGO, March 31-American Steamship Company, a subsidiary of GATX Corporation, has purchased Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) devices for their Great Lakes self-unloader fleet. The AED is a portable and easy-to-use version of the "crash cart" type of defibrillator found in hospitals. The devices will be available on board all ASC vessels at the beginning of the 1999 navigation season.

American Steamship Company is the first Great Lakes shipping company to employ the AED device and has adopted this program to increase the odds of saving lives. The American Heart Association estimates that about 350,000 people in the United States suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart's electrical system which regulates the individuals heartbeat, becomes ineffective. As a result, the heart cannot beat and circulate oxygen-rich blood causing victims to collapse, lose consciousness and possibly die without emergency care.

The AED could mean the difference between life and death for crewmembers aboard Great Lakes vessels. Published medical research suggests that many heart attack victims would likely survive with early defibrillation. This type of program is nothing new for ASC. Every year, crewmembers are required to participate in a variety of educational programs including First Aid, CPR, fire fighting and safety. AED training will be added to that list during the 1999 navigation season. ASC continues to be proactive when dealing with the safety and well-being of vessel employees. Last year ASC incorporated a medical emergency program that enables vessel crewmembers to telephone a licensed doctor 24 hours a day.

Tom Anderson, director of safety and navigation for American Steamship Company said, "We are very excited about putting this life saving technology aboard our ships. The combination of the AED technology, along with good CPR techniques, is a significant step forward in the area of pre-hospital care for our marine employees. The advent of AED technology aboard commercial ships may be one of the most significant safety advances in recent years."

AEDs are compact and weigh only a few pounds. Today's AED is far removed from the massive, complex hospital defibrillator of the 1950's. Advances in technology have streamlined and simplified these devices to a point where the AED will walk the user through a simple, step-by-step process with voice and visual prompts. Once sensor pads are placed properly on the victim's chest, the AED analyzes the heart rhythm in seconds and then determines if a shock is warranted.

Throughout its history, American Steamship Company has been a pioneer in Great Lakes vessel transportation. ASC's 11 vessel, self-unloading fleet represents the largest cargo capacity of any U.S. fleet on the Great Lakes. Vessels range in size from 635 feet to 1,000 feet, are capable of transporting cargoes from 17,000 to 70,000 net tons, and can self-discharge cargoes at speeds up 10,000 tons per hour. These vessels operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and require no shoreside personnel to unload. Today, under the ownership of the GATX Corporation, the company continues to deliver safe and efficient waterborne transportation.

GATX Corporation (NYSE: GMT) provides approximately $6 billion of service-enhanced assets primarily used to help its customers transport, store or distribute their products and information. GATX's assets include railcars and locomotives, bulk liquid storage terminals and pipelines, Great Lakes vessels, commercial aircraft, technology equipment and other assets and related services. In addition, GATX offers a variety of financial and logistics services focused on enhancing the value of owned and leased assets.