Jeremy Wallen and Robert Rosier say they have a potentially life-saving message for businesses in Columbia County.
It involves a device known as an automatic external defibrillator, or AED. And it comes with a no-liability clause.
Martinez firefighter John Franklin holds an automatic defibrillators. The AEDs are on each fire truck in Martinez
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"The whole goal is to get as many AEDs in the county to have available anywhere, any time that the public gathers where there's a greater potential," said Wallen, who with Rosier works at the Martinez Fire Department.
For the past six months, Wallen and Rosier have been visiting local businesses and talking to government officials, promoting the purchase of an AED - a device that automatically defibrillates a victim's heart with the use of two shock pads and the pressing of a few buttons.
The device can be used by anyone, and the Martinez Fire Department credits it with saving three saves in the past year. The department has AEDs on all of its six trucks.
Wallen said the effort to expand AED use is being pushed by the American Heart Association's Public Access to Defibrillation subcommittee, of which Wallen and Rosier are members.
"We've gone to some of the theaters and some of the larger businesses," he said.
So far, Wallen said, county officials have been receptive to the idea and would like to have an AED placed in all government buildings. Most businesses have been interested, too, he said, but there have been some concerns.
"The biggest concern that we've seen from the community is the training and the liability," Wallen said, adding that an AED typically costs about $3,000. "But there is a good samaritan law that provides for a no-liability clause when you use it."
The only requirement for someone to use the device is for them to have taken a CPR class. And the benefit, Wallen said, could be a life saved.
"The statistics state that the survival rate is extremely good when defibrillation occurs within the first three minutes of the onset of a heart attack," he said. "So, if you're looking at someone having chest pains or dropping out, within a minute you could run outside of the theater, grab the AED off the wall and deliver them the needed shock within the first two minutes."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.