Sequim and Port Angeles just increased their chances sixfold in pulling individuals out of cardiac arrest.
The Olympic Medical Center Foundation donated six automated external defibrillators, AEDs, to local agencies in the neighboring cities.
Two devices each were given to the Sequim and Port Angeles Police departments, one to the Sequim Boys & Girls Club and one to Holy Trinity Church in Port Angeles.
The devices, costing about $1,600 each, were paid for by the OMC Foundation's second Ready, Set, Go! Heart Luncheon in February.
Event coordinator Sara Maloney said the luncheon paid for most of the devices with help from a rebate by the AED makers and additional grants.
"There is no doubt that these devices will become an integral part of emergency response and that they will save lives," Maloney said.
The foundation plans to make raising funds for AEDs an annual part of its fundraiser.
"It is the goal of the program eventually to have an AED in every patrol car on duty," said Brian Smith, Port Angeles Police deputy chief.
Four of the AEDs will circulate in 24-hour police patrol cars.
"We're placing these devices potentially closer to a situation," Smith said.
Dan McKeen, Port Angeles fire chief, said, "Traditionally, the role of using an AED has been in the hands of groups like the fire department but with more agencies involved it increases the community's survivability."
Immediate CPR, a timely shock or application via the AED, then a paramedic arriving on the scene to sustain the subject increases the patient's survival rate by 50 percent, McKeen said.
An average person has four to six minutes to live without oxygen in the brain.
"The longer you wait, the harder it is to get the heart to pump blood," Smith said.
This summer, volunteers at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club encountered a man in cardiac arrest on the nearby track who died soon after.
Unit director Mary Budke said the situation left them feeling helpless.
"(With the AEDs), this provides us the best shot to help people," she said.
"It's a definite need."
All recipients will receive free training, if needed, on the devices from the Port Angeles Fire Department.
Keith Bogues, training coordinator for the department, said AED training runs in conjunction with traditional CPR training.
For more information on AED fundraising, contact the Olympic Medical Center Foundation at 417-7144.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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