FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Hansen, Lee County Emergency Medical
or Capt. Dave Wheaton, (941) 335-1600
LEE COUNTY TO PURCHASE 50
AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS
FOR PUBLIC FACILITIES
FORT MYERS, Fla. (November 7, 2000) – Lee County is buying 50 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) – easy-to-use devices that can save thousands of lives each year – for use in public facilities.
The Board of Lee County Commissioners unanimously approved $97,640 today for the purchase, of which $73,230 is from a state grant. Lee County EMS applied for the grant in February.
The AEDs should be purchased within the next couple months and will start showing up in public facilities by January 2001. The types of facilities where the AEDs will be placed include local city halls, professional baseball parks (Hammond Stadium and City of Palms Park), the Edison-Ford Estates, Harborside Convention Hall, and various community centers, to name a few. Lee County EMS plans to place the AEDs in at least 33 government operated facilities throughout Lee County and its cities and train 264 employees (eight at each facility) in their use.
Automated External Defibrillators are becoming more and more common throughout the country. AEDs now on the market are safe and easy to use, making it possible for non-medical personnel to be trained to provide rapid defibrillation. During cardiac arrest, for every minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim’s chances of survival go down 7-10 percent.
"The new devices are easy to use and only deliver an electric shock to the heart if one is needed," says Chris Hansen, Lee County’s EMS program manager. "AEDs use computerized assessment of heart rhythms, which virtually eliminates operator error."
The American Heart Association recommends that any facility in which large groups of people congregate consider establishing a defibrillation program. This is especially true in high-security companies, high-rise buildings, gated communities, sprawling manufacturing plants and remote sites. It is estimated that establishing these defibrillation programs could help save as many as 50,000 lives each year.
The first AEDs to be placed in a local public facility was in 1998 at Southwest Florida International Airport. In March, Port Authority Police Officers trained by Lee County EMS successfully resuscitated a 53-year-old cardiac arrest victim who has since enjoyed a complete recovery.
Currently there are about 125 AEDs deployed locally in private country clubs, businesses and churches. Lee County EMS has trained 700 people in CPR and proper use of the AEDs. Because of their increasing popularity, the county passed an ordinance in February to track and ensure training on local AEDs.