New equipment was recently introduced at LaRue County Parks and Recreation and it could help to save lives in the future.
The park’s addition is an Automated External Defibrillator or AED. This $1,500 machine, which was donated by Nolin RECC, is used as an aid during CPR and can help to restart a heart.
According to Jerry McBride, paramedic and instructor for the American Heart Association, AEDs save lives because they can detect when a heart enters a deadly rhythm and then reset the heart by providing a “jolt of electricity” to return it to normal.
The AED is a defibrillator in a compact, economic form. It is voice-prompted and guides the user through the process of CPR and using the machine.
The AED that will be used at LaRue County parks is a biphasic machine that can be used on children, age 1 and up, and on adults. McBride said that this machine would be valuable because in baseball and softball – sports played at the parks – injuries sustained to the chest are becoming more common.
Training for CPR and how to use the AED machine was held last Wednesday. Nine baseball and softball coaches completed the training, which was instructed by McBride and David Wilson, also a paramedic and American Heart Association instructor.
McBride, whose children play baseball at the park, reminded the coaches that the AED was a supplement, not a substitute, for CPR, and that CPR must be completed correctly. He also told participants that using the AED appropriately and quickly could save lives.
“If you can get this machine hooked up to someone within one minute (of sudden cardiac arrest), they have a 90 percent chance of surviving .... Every wasted minute reduces the chance of surviving by 10 percent.”
McBride compared using the AED to resetting a home’s breaker box. The machine does not “jumpstart” the heart, as many may believe. Instead, the AED resets the heart back to its normal rhythm.
Once the lid of the AED unit is opened, the machine begins “talking,” reminding the user of what steps to take in assessing the situation and determining whether use of the AED is appropriate. The unit for the park will be kept in the concession stand for use by softball and baseball teams.
McBride said that LaRue County Parks and Recreation isn’t the only local site for an AED. Buffalo Fire Department purchased the first one in the region in 1997 and more machines have been added to the community. The LaRue County School Board recently elected to purchase about 15 AED machines to use throughout the school system. Churches are also purchasing AEDs.
McBride said that a training session like the one held on Wednesday is required in order for a company or organization to have an AED in their possession.
Overall, McBride is excited about the machines and their potential to make the community safer.
“In the time it takes to call 911 ... you can greatly increase the chance of living .... Simply put, these machines save lives.”
Eric DeVary said he appreciated McBride and Wilson offering to provide the training to the baseball and softball programs free of charge. He called the training “informative,” giving “specific details on how to administer CPR as well as the AED system.”
“As a parent and coach the CPR/AED training provided an opportunity for me to be prepared for an event that we all hope we never have to endure,” DeVary said.
Editor Linda Ireland contributed to this story.