CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo.–A life saving device is being rolled out throughout Christian County.
It can bring you back from the dead if your heart suddenly stops beating, but an Automatic External Defibrillator or AED only works if you can find the device in time.
That’s why the Christian County Ambulance District has started mapping out the life-saving devices in the county.
According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.That’s why Christian County and CoxHealth are encouraging people to learn how to use an AED.
“The faster CPR begins the faster an electronic shock is delivered if it’s an appropriate rhythm the greater their survival chances are,” explains Mark Alexander, Director of EMS at CoxHealth.
He says AED’s can provide immediate assistance to a cardiac arrest victim during the critical moments before emergency personnel arrive on the scene.
“It’s extremely exciting. You add years to lives to an individual be that someone whose a grandfather or someone whose still 30 years from retirement.”
Christie Drew is an Administrator with the Christian County Ambulance District. She says they responded to more than 7,000 calls last year and of those 84 were cardiac arrest.
“Even if it’s one or two at a time that’s another one or two people that we’ve been able to successfully help their survivability rate,” says Drew.
That’s why the ambulance district and CoxHealth are now turning their focus to bringing more devices to a variety of places.
“It’s crucial that larger companies and organizations and industries have an AED.”
Jeanette Curtiss is attends St. Joseph The Worker Catholic Church in Ozark, Missouri. She tells KOLR10,” You never know the next incident could be a heart related where an AED would be very beneficial.”
Curtiss says her church has hundreds of families that attend services and other programs every week.
“I think it just shows how progressive this ambulance district is and forward thinking that they are.”
For every minute without defibrillation,”anything past 6 to 8 minutes, the mortality rate begins to climb tremendously,” explains Drew.
Drew is creating a database that will allow 911 emergency operators to identify where the AED’s are located within a building.
“Hopefully that dispatcher sees that notification pop up at that business, and see this specific location has an AED. They can get those instructions to them to get that AED and to get that motion of place quicker.”
But Drew needs the communities help identifying the locations of defibrillators already in the county.
“Having businesses and organizations contact the ambulance district and let us know how many you have and where they’re located will be a big benefit for us.”
The county’s ambulance district offers a full CPR certification course for just $10.
She adds the Christian County Ambulance District has committed to $15,000 to the AED program.
This year three Hollister High School Employees were honored for saving the life of 16 year old Zack Smith. Smith suffered sudden cardiac arrest while at school. The school members acted quickly to start CPR and used an AED to save Smith’s life. Zack presented the Life Saver Awards to the staff that saved his life.
If you are a business owner or part of an organization that has a AED please contact the Christian County Ambulance District at (417) 581-3700.
Click here for more information on CPR and AED certification.