NP Dodge Company presented four local nonprofit organizations with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) today in celebration of the company's 150th anniversary. Experts say the devices can save lives during cardiac emergencies.
"The on-site presence of an AED reduces critical wait time for treatment, and as a result improves a person's chance of surviving a cardiac crisis," said Amy Arouni, M.D., Creighton Cardiac Center cardiologist and American Heart Association board member. Between 300,000 and 400,000 people die from cardiac arrest each year in the United States, Arouni said, and most of these deaths occur outside of the hospital. Because on-site defibrillators are relatively new, no data yet exists on how many lives they have saved. What is clear, Arouni said, is the life-saving benefits of having them on hand. "The AHA supports placing AEDs in targeted public areas."
People of all ages and fitness levels have heart attacks, often without warning. Until now, bystanders could only call 911, administer CPR and wait for an ambulance. Today, first responders such as policemen, fire fighters and even minimally trained laypersons such as security guards and office managers can use an on-site defibrillator to save lives. Arouni said these portable devices analyze the heart's rhythm and can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. If necessary, the rescuer can deliver an electric shock to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. "This shock is called defibrillation, and it's intended to halt the rapid and chaotic heart activity of sudden cardiac arrest. The hope is that the heart will then re-establish an effective rhythm of its own," Arouni said. About the size of a laptop computer, the AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer which steps to take.
Sandy Dodge, president/chairman of the board, felt that placing these devices in the community seemed like an appropriate way to give back to the families NP Dodge Company has served over the past 150 years. "While we sincerely hope they are never needed, we also believe that saving one life would make this gift worthwhile. We will also provide the staff training needed to ensure that the defibrillators are used effectively."
The American Heart Association encourages persons responsible for using the AED to take a three-hour Heartsaver AED Course. All four organizations receiving the defibrillators - Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha Children's Museum, Holland Performing Arts Center and General Dodge House - have agreed to train staff members.
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