Equipped to Handle an Emergency

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. About 655,000 die each year, which breaks down into one death every 36 seconds. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and results in 805,000 heart attacks. That’s one heart attack every 40 seconds. These numbers are staggering.

Heart attacks can occur at home, at the gym, in public places, and yes, even at church. In response to this, many churches and schools are being equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). An AED is a device that can sense the electrical current traveling through the heart and can correct some lethal rhythms by delivering an electric shock through the skin. As all health care professionals know, AEDs can truly save lives.

Our church recently decided to purchase an AED and it took some research to determine where to purchase it and what brand would suit us. We decided to reach out to a local company that offers CPR classes for their opinion. The representative knew that we wanted an easy-to-use model since many of our members are not health care professionals. For our situation, she recommended we purchase the Philips HeartStart Onsite AED. There are many different brands of AEDs and the WELS Nurses Association does not endorse or recommend any specific brand. She also knew that we do have a handful of nurses that would start CPR if they would be present so she recommended a responder pack that includes a mask to safely give breaths. The pack is in a zippered pouch that we have clipped to the AED carrying case.

We appreciated receiving her recommendations so we decided to purchase the AED from the local company. However, if your church is interested in purchasing an AED and knows what brand and supplies they would like, everything can be purchased from online sites such as Amazon or the AED Superstore as well as many others. If possible, your church could host a CPR class where members are instructed on how to respond to an emergency as well as the location of the AED and how to use it. It should be kept in a public place with clear signage that is easily accessible.

Feel free to reach out to the WELS Nurses Association with any further questions about purchasing an AED for your church at [email protected].

Allison Spaude currently works in the Medical ICU of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. and serves as the Communications Coordinator for the WELS Nurses Association.

Website Source: Heart Disease Facts. (2020, September 8). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm


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