AED at St. John's
A defibrillator has been purchased for St. John’s Lutheran Church through part of the memorial funds given in memory of Dr. Leonard Gangeness. The Council gave approval to the Health Ministry’s request during early summer. The defibrillator is located by the telephone near the sanctuary on the west side. The staff has been trained in its use – although it is designed to be used safely by people who are not medically trained. Anyone who has taken a CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) instruction course can use an AED. AED’s are being used by a wide range of people and can be found almost everywhere in the community – including schools, churches, office buildings and law enforcement buildings and vehicles.
What is “sudden cardiac arrest”?
Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction of the heart that claims 1,000 lives each day in the U.S. In an arrest, the heart is in ventricular fibrillation – a lethal rhythm that prevents the heart from beating effectively and pumping blood to the rest of the body. With each minute that goes by in arrest – the victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10%. The survival rate nationally is only 5%. “Defibrillation” or the action of the AED, delivers an electrical shock to convert the heart back to its normal rhythm – and the only effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. (*This is not a heart attack.)
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator – or AED – is a small device (about the size of a laptop computer) that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and instructs the device to deliver a shock, if necessary. AED’s are easy to use, providing both audible and written instructions. They’re also completely safe. In fact, the AED is designed to prevent a shock from being delivered if it is not necessary. The availability and use of AED’s can dramatically improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest. In communities that have implemented AED programs – survival rates are nearing fifty percent!
How Do You Use an AED?
If you suspect that someone is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest – the first thing you would do is call 911 to alert medical emergency personnel and get them on their way - and then begin CPR. If the person is not responding – retrieve the AED from its storage location. The machine will instruct you step-by-step from the moment you turn it on. Its audible instructions tell you how to connect the electrodes to the body according to the pictures on each electrode. The AED will automatically sense when the electrodes have been placed and begin analyzing the victim’s heart rhythm. If the AED determines a shock is necessary – it will instruct you to press the ‘shock’ button immediately after it warns you and others to stand back and do not touch the patient. After the electrical shock has been administered by the unit – the AED will then re-analyze the patient’s heart rhythm to determine if the shock was successful. The patient may require multiple shocks from the AED.
- You are unable to harm someone who is already clinically deceased.
- Federal laws grant “Good Samaritan” immunity to trained responders using AED’s.
Our very gracious thanks to Hermoine Gangeness and her family for helping us to create a heart-safe church!