City to add AEDs to parks


The Seymour Parks and Recreation Department plans to make lifesaving equipment available in some city parks.

On Monday, the parks board approved a plan to install an automatic external defibrillator at Kasting Park on the city’s west side.

Bob Tabeling, director of the parks department, said he hopes to use grant money from the Schneck Foundation to purchase the $3,500 device which is used to give an electric shock to someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Kasting was chosen because of the number of tournaments played there during the summer and on weekends, he said.

Currently, Gaiser Park has an AED, but it is kept in the maintenance shop building which is not accessible to the public. There also is one available to staff at the pool at Shields Park.

The Seymour High School cross country program is working to have an AED near the cross country course at Freeman Field Recreational Complex. It also is being funded through a grant from Schneck, Tabeling said.

Parks board president Gary Colglazier said if the department is going to have the devices they need to be outside where people can get to them in an emergency.

The one at Gaiser will be moved to a more accessible location, likely outside the concession stand, Tabeling said.

“That’s where you have your adult leagues, adult softball, adult volleyball, and where you’re going to need it the most, adult,” he said.

The discussion about the need for AEDs was the result of an incident where a local man had a heart attack outside during an athletic event at Seymour Middle School. The school had an AED, but it was located inside the school.

Tabeling said by the time someone was able to get the AED, first responders already had arrived.

Parks board member Zabrina Nicholson said as a coach she’s AED certified. She wondered how much liability the department would have if someone used one of the devices incorrectly.

Nicholson said the AEDs are a tool to help people and each one comes with simple directions that walk a person through how to use them.

She suggested the department offer an AED training to all coaches to make them familiar with how the devices operate.

Parks board member Deryk Baurle voiced concerns of vandalism and how to keep people from damaging the devices if they are accessible to anyone.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “But we can’t even keep soap dispensers on the walls in the bathrooms and we’re talking about a $3,000 unit. But on the flip side, it’s only $3,000 to save a life.”

After researching the use of AEDs by other parks departments, Tabeling said they don’t see a lot of theft or vandalism to the devices.

It’s impossible to cover every “what if” situation, but having the units accessible, especially during tournaments makes sense, he said, because of the number of people at the parks at that time.

“The reality of it is you can’t cover everybody, every situation,” Tabeling said. “You’re just trying to cover as much as you possibly can.”

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