Shocking additions

Area high schools, public buildings get defibrillators

Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Central Emergency Services has begun installing auto-emergency defibrillators in public places around the central Kenai Peninsula to improve chances of saving the lives of potential cardiac arrest victims.

One AED has been installed in the Kenai Peninsula Borough office building, one was installed at Skyview High School Thursday and others will be installed in Soldotna and Kenai Central high schools, the Kenai River Center on Funny River Road, the borough maintenance building and another in the borough office building.

The machines are being placed in public areas where large numbers of people might gather for civic and sports events.

"The best chance of being converted out of cardiac arrest is in the first few minutes," said CES Capt. Tim Cooper during the Skyview installation Thursday.

"Chances diminish greatly in the first 10 minutes. If someone goes into cardiac arrest, it takes time for someone to notice, then find a phone to call in the emergency, time for us to be dispatched and time for us to drive to the emergency.

"On average that takes seven minutes," Cooper said.

"By having public access AEDs, the defibrillation can be done in the first minute," said CES Chief Jeff Tucker.

He said a four-hour class is required to learn to operate an AED, which actually gives verbal commands to the operator throughout the procedure.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District assistant superintendent Todd Syverson said staff members at the three high schools will receive the training.

Although the AEDs normally cost about $3,500 each, Cooper said the borough acquired them by special arrangement with the 2002 Winter Olympics organizers in Salt Lake City who offered 82 surplus units for sale at $2,002 each.

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