Iowa county donates AEDs to public sites

People at each location will be trained to use the devices, according to Wapello County Public Health director Lynelle Diers

By Winona Witaker
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA, Iowa —Twelve Lifepak defibrillators will be distributed to the Wapello County sheriff's department and other county sites in an attempt to save more lives of heart attack victims.

"We're making sure every deputy has one now," said Wapello County Public Health director Lynelle Diers. WCPH purchased the portable defibrillators with emergency preparedness funds for distribution this week.

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement is a source of funding for state and local public health departments to build and strengthen their ability to respond to public health threats, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Christ's Church south of Ottumwa on Highway 63 is on the list for a defibrillator, Diers said, "because they have a lot of local things going on there," and the location creates a long response time for ambulances.

Cedar Creek Golf Course north of town and Pioneer Ridge Nature Area on Highway 63 also are marked to receive automated defibrillators because of their distance from emergency facilities. A heart-attack victim needs emergency intervention within five minutes, Diers said.

People at each location will be trained to use the devices, said Diers. The units have DVD instructions with them, but emergency personnel will do in-person training as well.

"The nice thing about these [is] it talks to you. It walks you through," said Diers. The device will take the operator through the procedure step by step from unbuttoning the shirt to making sure the patches adhere to the victim correctly.

"[We] selected it because it's so user friendly," said Diers.

WCPH also used emergency preparedness funds to purchase a pair of solar generators to keep its office running during power outages. One generator will keep the vaccine refrigerator operating; a smaller one will charge laptops and cell phones.

Diers likes to plan ahead for emergency situations. "It's not good when you're reactive rather than proactive" in a disaster, she said.

Copyright 2017 Ottumwa Courier

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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