Although a pupil or visitor to Augusta Preparatory Day School might never suffer sudden cardiac arrest on campus, school nurse Tammilee Lloyd-Regan has three lifesaving portable devices close at hand just in case.
The private school on Flowing Wells Road has three automated external defibrillators on its campus, which can be used to supply a lifesaving electrical shock to re-establish a normal heart rhythm.
"It's just like an insurance policy because you hope you never have to use it, but it's nice that it's there," Lloyd-Regan said.
The defibrillators can provide immediate treatment for the deadly condition that strikes without warning, and they are becoming more common throughout Columbia County, officials say.
Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker said Tuesday that 115 of the defibrillators are in public and private schools, county offices, industries and on emergency vehicles throughout the county.
About the size of a laptop computer, the defibrillators detect abnormal heart rhythms and give audible instructions to users on how to deliver an electrical shock to re-establish effective heart function.
Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of 200,000 Americans each year, according to the American Red Cross. Of those deaths, 50,000 might be preventable were medical treatment such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an automated external defibrillator immediately available, according to the Red Cross.
In recent months, the defibrillators have been added to Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue pumper trucks at the new stations on Columbia, Cobbham, Ray Owens, White and Old Louisville roads.
Prices for the machines have decreased from about $3,000 when they first became available to less than $2,000, Tucker said. Despite the cost, Tucker said acquiring the machines was the right thing to do, and credited Robert Rozier, of Martinez-Columbia and Gold Cross, for finding grants to help pay for the county-owned devices.
"It does increase your chance of survival," Tucker said.
Locations of the defibrillators include all public schools; the Grovetown and Harlem departments of public safety; the Evans Government Center, courthouse and library; the Columbia County Senior Center; Patriots Park; Club Car; Kennametal; John Deere; Georgia Iron Works, Brandon Wilde; and churches such as Wesley United Methodist and Grace and Abilene Baptist.
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