It’s been seen it in movies and TV shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy: dramatic scenes where patients are shocked back to life. While those may be over-the-top recreations, the situations are very much a part of real life.
Now, businesses in Wilton Manors are installing AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators. The Broward County Fire Code requires them, but doesn’t pay for them, forcing each business to spend big.
To help offset the cost, Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA) is partnering with Code RED and buying the kits in bulk. WMBA President Gary Van Horn says the AEDs can be bought for about $1,100.
AEDs are pads that are placed on a heart attack victim’s chest. The pads are wired to a control box that takes a user through the process step-by-step and starts analyzing the patient. Once it determines if a shock is needed, it tells the rescuer how to proceed.
A look at local and national headlines shows the need. In January, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin took a hit on the field that threw his heart out of rhythm. Emergency crews used CPR and an AED to help bring him back to life in front of a packed stadium.
In July, Bronny James, the son of former Miami Heat star LeBron James, went into cardiac arrest during a basketball practice.
Locally, a restaurant recently had a person go into cardiac arrest. Having AEDs on site is critical to survival until paramedics can arrive.
Also important: training staff to use them. Van Horn recently held an American Heart Association training at Rosie's. Staff from there, Johnson’s, and a local realtor were on hand.
In addition to learning CPR and AEDs, they were also taught how to administer EPI pens to people having allergic reactions and narcan to people suffering overdoses. Last year, West Point cadets died on a visit to Wilton Manors, and narcan may have saved a life.
Given that thousands of people hit Wilton Manors every day, chances are the newly installed devices will be used at some point. It’s the type of equipment used routinely by first responders.
"This life-saving equipment is essential to our public safety operations in the event officers or professional staff encounter an individual having a relatable medical emergency,” WMPD Chief Gary Blocker said.
The city’s first responders and staff are trained in first aid, how to stop bleeding, and AEDs.
While using one in a real emergency may sound daunting, Blocker says it’s nothing to be scared of.
“Technology has vastly improved since AEDs were first introduced, and the practical use has been simplified to better serve the person using the device, and the patient in need of medical attention."