During a health emergency, every minute that goes by, a person’s chance of survival goes down 10%.
That’s why having a device like an automated external defibrillator easily accessible is important.
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Chris Snodgrass, president of AED Specialist, shared that information after training 14 of Brownstown Pool’s lifeguards on how to use the facility’s new AED.
"The fact that they can have this device on in 2 to 3 minutes by the time they get somebody out, it’s an incredible thing to save somebody’s life," he said.
Pool manager Jamie Temple said she has been in her position for nine years, and it has been a goal to have an AED onsite because the lifeguards learn how to use them and do cardiopulmonary resuscitation as part of their certification.
Funding, however, has always been an issue, as an AED used to cost several thousand dollars.
"I’ve always said we’ve needed one. I just knew the pricepoint," Temple said. "We can survive on CPR, and we always lived on the fact that the ambulance is close, and any time we’ve called, they’ve always been 2 seconds away. But I said, ‘It doesn’t always happen.’ They could be in Freetown and then we’re waiting on one from Seymour to come and we don’t know where everybody’s at."
Recently talking to Brownstown Park Board President Brian Wheeler, Temple was encouraged to check with local organizations about providing funds to purchase an AED.
Snodgrass gave her ideas of local groups, and when the Masons were mentioned, Temple immediately thought of her dad, Jim Renaker, who serves as secretary of Jackson Masonic Lodge 146 in Seymour.
Temple wrote a letter expressing the need for an AED and presented it to her father. He shared it with fellow Masons, and they sped up the process of getting it approved so the pool would have the AED this season.
The donation was big because an AED with live feedback pads and a cabinet to store it in costs around $1,900.
"It just came together really nicely," Temple said.
Even though the lifeguards receive some training on an AED, Temple thought it would be good to have Snodgrass come by the pool to do more intensive training.
Snodgrass discussed the AED’s purpose and demonstrated how to use it. Then he gave the lifeguards a chance to practice using it and do CPR on a dummy.
"It’s very important that both of them go hand in hand because one’s going to keep the blood circulating (CPR), but this one is going to be the one that actually coverts your heart back to a normal rhythm (AED)," he told the lifeguards.
While he said using the AED and doing CPR doesn’t always save a person’s life, he wanted the lifeguards to not be afraid of using either tool in an emergency situation.
A plus with the AED is it’s fully automatic once the pads are placed on the victim and an automated voice provides step-by-step directions, Snodgrass said. The AED also has a text display with instructions, and a button can be pushed to translate to Spanish.
"It’s giving you live feedback to make sure that you’re giving the absolute best CPR that you can give to a patient as far as compressions, and we know compressions are important," he said.
Along with adult and pediatric pads, the kit includes a spare set of pads and a rescue ready kit with scissors, a razor, gloves and a CPR mask.
"You have everything you need right there in this little kit to start and perform a rescue, so it makes it super easy," Snodgrass said.
Lifeguard Brennon Fleetwood said the training helped show him an AED is easy to use.
He learned the basics while recently going through recertification, but he said it was good to learn even more from Snodgrass.
"When I heard about the AED and I heard that it’s automated, I figured the only thing I would have to do is click a button to start it, but you don’t have to do that," he said. "I think it’s pretty nice overall."
Temple said it was good to see the lifeguards take the training seriously.
"I always do worst-case scenarios around here all the time because I want them to be comfortable," she said. "If it happens, we’re all jumping in, we’re going down."
That’s exactly what lifeguards had to do last summer when a girl was injured at the pool. Temple received messages from people after that incident saying how calm the lifeguards were.
"That made me proud because I know we do what we can so that they are comfortable to do what they are supposed to do, and they did. They didn’t skip a beat," she said. "They were ready and weren’t afraid. They knew what to do."
Since the pool is only open in the summer months, Temple said the AED will be given to the parks staff since they are there most of the remainder of the year. That way, they can be trained on how to use it and have access to it in the event of an emergency.