Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation has announced it will donate at least 30 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to nonprofit and religious organizations in the greater Yadkin Valley that can be used to respond in situations where someone is having sudden cardiac arrest, potentially helping to restart hearts and save lives.
Nonprofit organizations, churches and other community and religious organizations in Alleghany, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties can download an application to get a defibrillator at http://www.HughChatham.org/AED and submit it by the July 31 deadline. The applications will be reviewed by a committee of volunteers from the foundation’s board of trustees and hospital staff. Preference will be given to organizations which are located in rural communities away from an emergency management system (EMS) base and are willing to participate in training on how to use CPR techniques and AED devices; however, all nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply.
“Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in North Carolina after cancer, and this is something that we wanted to do in order to help save lives,” said Emily Parks, RN, CCRN, SCRN, stroke and education coordinator at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.
“By more widely distributing defibrillators in local communities and training more people in how to do CPR and use AEDs, we can create more ‘heart safe’ communities. If you start CPR and then use an AED within a few minutes, you will have the best chance of saving a life, possibly even before an ambulance arrives,” added Parks.
She said the expense to purchase each AED and a wall cabinet to properly secure and store it is about $2,000 to $3,000, then added, “the value of saving a life is priceless.”
Parks said the hospital and its foundation also will reach out to the business community to alert it about the need for AEDs in businesses and how to purchase them. They also will be invited to help fund the project so more AEDs can be distributed to local churches and nonprofit organizations.
The foundation’s goal is to raise at least $60,000 within the next year to help fund this project. For more information, businesses can contact Emily Parks by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by a heart attack, electrocution, an existing heart rhythm or heart valve disorder or a history of drug abuse. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended AED placement in police cars, fitness clubs, grocery stores, workplaces, churches, retirement communities, schools and theatres, reporting that the optimal time to use a defibrillator is in the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest. The AHA says that a person’s chance of survival decreases seven to 10 percent each minute that a defibrillator is not used if it is needed.