ST. ANSELM’S ACQUIRES AN AED AND TRAINS PEOPLE TO USE IT
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) claims over 350,000 lives in the United States each year. The most common cause of SCA is ventricular fibrillation—when the heart’s electrical impulses become irregular and the heart is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body. If left untreated, death occurs within minutes. Because SCA is one of the leading causes of death in our nation, it is a major public health problem.
Traditionally the ability to defibrillate outside of the hospital setting was solely the responsibility of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. Survival was dependent on early activation of the 911 system and early arrival of EMS first responders. Today, the new generation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), make it possible for lay people to provide defibrillation. These new AEDs are safe, effective, low maintenance, and easy to use. Approximately 10 to 20 lives are saved each year in Contra Costa County alone. Many people are alive today because someone started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an AED on them when they experienced SCA in a public setting.
St. Anselm’s has purchased an AED. In June and July, 17 parishioners were trained in its use and in the use of CPR. These people took an online course, passed an online test, and took a live two-hour hands-on course. The course as taught by our own Chris Young, an 8 o’clocker experienced in the science and application of emergency medical response. Trainees were Carol Fontana, Fred Toney, John Sutton, Sheila and Norm Gorsuch, Doug Merrill, Sara and Al Swimmer, Wynne and Gary Bacon, Sally Roberts, Michael Hollinger, Art Clarke, Diane and Tim Brown, and Martha and David Watson. We can turn to these people, and of course, Chris Young, for help in the event of a cardiac emergency at church. Janet Nadol, who was on the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team for six years (with Chris Young), is another person we can count on.
The AED is currently hanging on the north wall of the main room in Jackson Hall, near the fire extinguisher and temperature controller. The Property Commission is currently considering alternatives for a permanent storage cabinet for it.
To see information about cardiac emergency, cardiac arrest and instructions about performing CPR, using the AED, and First Aid for Choking, click here.