First responders equipped with automatic external defibrillators

First responders equipped with automatic external defibrillators The Vermillion Ambulance Association has taken steps to greatly increase the health care in Vermillion and the Clay County area.

Recently, a project was completed to equip Vermillion Clay County first responders with Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).

This project, led by Anthony Burbach, was started two years ago and has raised $15,000 to purchase AEDs for all first responder vehicles.

Every year, sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of at least 250,000 people. During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart commonly converts into a lethal rhythm call Ventricular Fibrillation (VF).

Defibrillation with an AED is the only known treatment that will covert the heart back to a normal rhythm. An AED uses a powerful shock to stop the abnormal heart rhythm and allows the heart to return to a more normal beating pattern. CPR only pumps oxygenated blood to the brain and other necessary organs.

The longer the heart is in VF, the less the chance the heart will convert back. For every one minute the heart is in VF, a patient's chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. This is why putting this equipment in the hands of first responders will save lives.

Unlike models of defibrillators intended only for use by health care professionals, AEDs do not require extensive medical knowledge to understand or operate.

The expertise needed to analyze the heart's electrical function is programmed into the device, and enables ordinary people to provide treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

A four-hour training session, covering both AEDs and CPR, is all that is necessary to learn how to use the device.

Vermillion first responders are the Vermillion Police Department, USD Public Safety, the Clay County Sheriff's Department, and the Vermillion Fire Department.

These people respond to 911 calls with ambulance, but often arrive first. The training is already in place and the units will go into service this week.

The Vermillion Ambulance Association thanks the following organizations and individuals for their monetary donations that made this life-saving project possible:

Anthony Burbach, First Dakota Bank, and its ongoing donation, Vermillion Civic Council, IOOF, Vermillion Rebekah Lodge, and its ongoing donation, Siouxland Community Foundation, VFW and VFW Auxiliary, Karen Muenster, University of South Dakota, Dakota Hospital Foundation, Vermillion Medical Clinic, Vermillion Fire Department, Vermillion Rotary, Vermillion Sertoma, Vermillion United Way, and Coyote Country Rodeo Club.

The association's next goal is to raise money to buy two more units which will be placed at the high school and middle school. Anyone interested in more information or making a donation may contact Burbach at the ambulance station.

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