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Neb. county equips public places with AEDs

Platte County voted to purchase seven automated defibrillators that can save lives of members of the public and employees who suddenly suffer cardiac arrest


By Jim Osborn
The Columbus Telegram

PLATTE COUNTY, Neb. — Members of the Platte County Board of Supervisors offered their own jolt Tuesday morning—at the behest of the county's safety committee—by voting to purchase seven automated defibrillators that can save lives of members of the public and employees who suddenly suffer cardiac arrest.

"These are life-saving devices," said Supervisor Tom Martens moments before joining other board members in voting to spend about $10,000 on the portable automated external defibrillators during a presentation by Clerk of the District Court Marlene Vetick.

Platte County voted to purchase seven automated defibrillators that can save lives of members of the public and employees who suddenly suffer cardiac arrest. (Photo/Pixabay)
Platte County voted to purchase seven automated defibrillators that can save lives of members of the public and employees who suddenly suffer cardiac arrest. (Photo/Pixabay)

"You might not ever need it, but you might need it tomorrow," Martens said about the machines, commonly known as AEDs, that check the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

SAC is an "electrical" problem, in which the electrical function of the heart is interrupted and the heart begins to quiver erratically, completely unable to pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

People who suffer the condition require immediate CPR.

Vetick said seconds matter.

According to medical experts, the chances of survival decrease by 10 percent for every minute that passes without CPR and a shock from a defibrillator. After 10 minutes without oxygen to the brain, it is unlikely the victim will survive. If revived, the person may suffer irreparable brain damage.

"If you can save one life (with these machines), it's a small price to pay," Martens said.

The seven new machines, which cost $1,399 each, will be sprinkled among the county's facilties, including three at the county courthouse, one on each floor of the three-story structure.

The other four AEDs will be located at the juvenile services building behind the courthouse along 27th Avenue, at the District 5 Probation office on East 32nd Avenue, the highway department in Platte Center and the county extension office on 13th Street downtown.

Vetick said during her presentation Tuesday that the safety committee had considered the issue of the fully automated AEDs about a year ago, but had tabled the idea. A CPR training class attended by about 30 county employees helped revive interest in making the life-saving investment.

The district court clerk said another factor in the safety committee's recommendation was that Columbus voters will be going to the polls May 15 to decide the fate of a $16 million bond issue that would shift the fire department to the west side of the city.

The fire department and its emergency medical technician services would no longer be across 26th Avenue from the courthouse, Vetick said.

"The machines are fully automated, it's incredible and there are no certification requirements," Vetick said.

"The machines tell you what to do, giving directions and can relieve the panic people can suffer in stressful situations. They're very user friendly."

Copyright 2018 The Columbus Telegram

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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