HENRY COUNTY, VA – Two recreational facilities in Henry County are now equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator thanks to a partnership between the Compress & Shock Foundation, Eastman Chemical Company and Triangle Electric Corporation.
The new AEDs will allow for a faster treatment response in the event of a cardiac arrest at the Smith River Sports Complex or Jack Dalton Park.
Dr. Karen Perkins, Vice Director of the Compress & Shock Foundation, said the chances of survival from a cardiac arrest jumps from 10 percent to 70 percent if an AED is placed within three minutes, underscoring the importance of accessibility.
“More AEDs in the community and more people that know CPR equals more lives saved and more people getting back to their family and friends,” Perkins said. The Compress & Shock Foundation, a physician-led non-profit based out of Roanoke, provides free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED training for the community.
An AED can detect lethal heart rhythms and, if indicated, deliver a controlled amount of electricity in an attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Perkins said interest in an AED installation project for Henry County began at the request of Lucas Hager, an employee of Eastman.
“He was a young man who had a cardiac arrest at the age of 16 and was successfully resuscitated,” Perkins said. “He later became a spokesperson for our foundation. He was kind enough to reach out to his employer and stress the importance of having early access to AEDs in the community. Eastman has been kind enough to donate two AEDs to the public.”
The cost to install a single outdoor AED is approximately $2,000.
“This is exciting for Eastman because one of our core values is safety and health,” said Karen Burgess, Operations Manager at Eastman. “This is a way we can demonstrate that and partner with the community to have a positive impact. It is good for us because we are able to promote the good health and safety that we communicate inside Eastman out into the community.”
Very little training is needed to operate an AED, according to Perkins.
“The only bad thing you could ever do in a cardiac arrest is not take the defibrillator off the wall,” Perkins said. “If you call 911, the 911 operator will walk you through how to properly do CPR and the defibrillator is smarter than a human being. It will tell you what to do as far as where to place the pads and it will never shock someone who is not in a shockable rhythm. So you can never hurt someone by using a defibrillator, you can only help them.”
The AEDs are housed in all-weather compartments provided by AED Team.
Triangle Electric Corporation assisted with wiring that will provide electricity to the compartment.
Inside of the compartment is a sensor that will automatically trigger if the outdoor temperature gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
This will prevent the equipment from freezing.
The Compress and Shock Foundation will provide free AED and CPR training to the community at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Smith River Sports Complex.