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Ga. naval submarine base gets AEDs

Thirteen defibrillators will be strategically placed throughout Kings Bay and the staff will trained in proper use

By Gordon Jackson
The Brunswick News

ST. MARYS, Ga. — Defibrillation is a lifesaving pulse of electricity that can quickly restore a heart's normal rhythm -- if it can be administered early enough.

That won't be a problem at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in the near future.

The base will soon have 13 new Automated External Defibrillators through the Public Access AED Program, making early defibrillation immediately available during cardiac emergencies.

The devices will be strategically placed throughout the base and staff will be trained in the proper use, as well as how to inspect and maintain the devices.

"The ones that will be installed at Kings Bay are fully automatic," said Capt. Tom Middleton of Kings Bay's Fire and Emergency Services. "All of the purchased AEDs are compatible with each other. They are also compatible with other AEDs in town, including the hospital."

Middleton said it is important that the defibrillators on base are compatible with the ones used by emergency responders and Southeast Georgia Health System's hospital in St. Marys because the pads used to treat someone on base don't have to be changed in the event another shock has to be delivered to a patient.

If the pads are not compatible, they will have to be replaced when the patient arrives at the treatment center, costing time that could mean the difference between life and death.

"They'd have to pull the pads off and start over again. We can't afford to have that happen when it's cardiac arrest," Middleton said.

The defibrillators will be put in buildings with a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest incidents. These areas include child care, the youth center, the Navy Exchange, bowling alley, base gym, commissary, galley, Trident Training Facility and its fire trainer, Trident Refit Facility's Refit Industrial Building, the dry dock and the hull shop.

By next year, five additional AEDs will be placed at the golf course, chapel and port operations.

"We only have so much funding, and we put that money where we felt that it was best served," Middleton said.

The AEDs are safe, effective and designed for anyone to use with very little training. After turning on the device and applying self-adhesive pads to the victim's chest, the AED will "speak" to the user throughout the rescue process, providing step-by-step instructions.

Still, the effectiveness of the program relies on having trained employees to use the AED in an emergency.

"There's going to be a learning curve here," Middleton said. "It's going to be a learn-as-we-go. There's going to be a lot of people who will require CPR training, and we will accommodate it the best way we can."


©2014 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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