TYRONE - The Northern Blair County Recreation Center is now better equipped to respond to a medical emergency with a recent donation of a new Philips Heartstart Automated External Defibrillator from Tyrone Hospital. "We learned that the recreation center was interested in acquiring an AED," said Lannette Johnston, director of outreach programs at the hospital. "Tyrone Hospital wanted to help and be of service to the community in this way. We know how important it is to act fast in the event of an emergency."
An AED is a portable defibrillator device that can be used by nonmedical personnel to help revive a person who goes into sudden cardiac arrest. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, most people who have sudden heart arrest can die from it-often within minutes unless the heart is revived quickly. Therefore, rapid treatment with an AED can be lifesaving. The AED donated to the center by the hospital can be used for infants, children or adults.
Bruce Makin, executive director of the center, said the AED is important to have at any facility but especially a recreation center, a facility where community members of all ages gather for fitness and sport activities. "The board of directors and staff are extremely grateful for the AED donation,"?he said. While we hope we will never need to use the AED, it is assuring to know we have this life saving resource for any on-site emergency situation that may develop."
Shown at the Northern Blair Recreation Center with the new automated electronic defibrillator donated by Tyrone Hospital are (from left): Lannette Johnston, director of outreach programs at the hospital; Bruce Makin, executive director of the center; and Donna Bell, front desk attendant at center.
AEDs are most likely to be found in first-response vehicles such as ambulances, law enforcement and fire emergency trucks. They are also recommended for public areas where large groups of people gather, including airplanes, sports arenas, schools and shopping centers. Auditory and visual prompts walk AED users through every step of the process. The device has a built-in computer that checks a victim's heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes placed on the chest. The computer calculates whether defibrillation is needed.
If needed, the device delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart to revive the victim. "It works in the same manner as the defibrillation equipment used in hospitals," Johnston said.
AEDs are considered an important part of emergency response programs that include rapid use of 911 and prompt delivery of CPR. According to information from the American Heart Association, all three of these steps are vital to improving survival from cardiac arrest.
Makin said staff at the center are CPR-certified. Tyrone Hospital will also provide training so all staff will be AED-certified. Johnston said the AED was acquired with the assistance of Tracy Reagan from Centre LifeLink EMS of State College. Centre LifeLink EMS will help maintain the device.