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County Will Install AED Outside Courthouse

County will install AED outside courthouse

© 2018-The Record Delta

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission on Thursday voted to purchase an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, to install on the outside of the courthouse annex complex in an effort to help improve the chances of residents surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

At the commission’s weekly meeting, Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble asked the commission to participate in the HEARTSafe initiative, which is an effort to install AEDs in easily accessible public locations with the hopes that a bystander or someone with a person struck by cardiac arrest can use the machine to prolong or save the person’s life.

According to county administrator Carrie Wallace, the courthouse complex has two AEDs, which are located on the second floor of the annex and on the first floor of the original courthouse.

Kimble asked that the commission relocate one of those outside so the public could access it if an emergency arises. A security box with a code that would be made available by calling the Upshur E911 Communication Center would encase the AED, Kimble said.

“The Buckhannon Fire Department along with other agencies are looking at a HEARTSafe community initiative, which is a community-oriented way to improve our sudden cardiac arrest response in big public event areas, so the big thing is data-driven,” the fire chief said, explaining that the initiative also includes training people to properly use AEDs as well as CPR.

“The next thing is to find out how many AEDs are in our community, public or nonpublic, how many can we make public because to be considered a public access AED, it has to have 24-hour availability,” Kimble said. “That way, they’re public access and once you make them public access, we register them with the state Office of Emergency Services or EMS, and what that does is, there are apps (online applications) for first responders, and they can take that app and it locates public access AEDs.”

For instance, Kimble said first responders from other states and counties who might be in town for the W.Va. Strawberry Festival could locate a public AED with the help of such an app.

“They know there’s an AED available to grab if someone goes down before the rest of the first responders get there,” Kimble said. “We’re just trying to find out where [AEDs] are at so we can make them public access, and once they’re made public access, the fire department will go around and inspect them monthly for batteries and for pad expirations.”

“I know the courthouse and annex has two AEDs, and I’ve asked if we could possibly make one of those public access,” Kimble continued. “The boxes are about $300-$350, and through initiatives like Create Buckhannon and when my father (Jerry Kimble) passed away, in lieu of flowers, people donated to that organization, so we have about $4,200 right now.”

Kimble said $4,200 was enough to purchase three public use AEDs and accompanying security boxes.

“Instead of buying one here, I’d like for you all to make one of your AEDs public access,” Kimble said. “That’s what I’m asking for, which would be on the exterior of the annex or the courthouse… but that way we can make it available to first responders or people that know how to use them.”

Kimble said the BFD is willing to teach all county employees how to properly perform CPR and use an AED free of charge.

“To give you an idea, the survival rate in an airport, because of the availability of AEDs, is about 62 percent,” Kimble said. “In our county, there were 19 cardiac arrests in our fire district last year. In 16 of those, CPR was initiated by a family member or bystander. But the number of times someone used an AED in those cases was zero and that’s because nobody knows where they’re at or they’re afraid to use them — they don’t know what they are, so the big initiative is to train people.”

Commissioner Terry Cutright said he’d rather the county purchase a new AED to install on the outside of the courthouse or courthouse annex than move one of the AEDs inside the buildings. Kimble said an AED unit costs about $1,000, while the secure box totals about $300.

“I don’t think I’d want to move one of those out,” Cutright said. “I’d like to make a motion that we buy a new one and box to put on the outside.”

Commissioner Troy “Buddy” Brady agreed.

“And I will second that because … it’s a good idea,” Brady said. “I hope it never happens here, but if it ever did, and we could save one life, for no more than the cost of $300 (the box) and $1,000, we’ve thrown more money away on several things we shouldn’t be doing, so you got a second from me.”

Kimble said the commission might be able to lock down a cheaper, group price if the county purchases the AED in conjunction with the other three he’s already planning to buy.

Cutright’s motion passed unanimously.

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