Four months ago a contractor at the Stimson Lumber mill in Gaston suffered a heart attack. Stimson's in-house emergency response team was able to revive him by administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED).
AEDs provide electric shocks in an effort to re-start a stopped heart. Without immediate access to the device, the man might have died. But after transport and care at a local hospital, he appeared to have regained full function — to the relief of his family and everyone else involved in the incident.
It was the first time Stimson's emergency crew had used the company's on-site AED, which saves more lives than just CPR alone. Sudden cardiac arrest kills more than 300,000 people in the U.S. every year. Nationally, the chances of surviving a cardiac event are about 6 percent, but in communities with AEDs available in public buildings, the survival rate is much higher.
So a tip of the hat goes to the Forest Grove School District, which purchased AEDs for all of its buildings in 2012-13. That's a start, but our local communities should have more of the devices available. They're useful not only for adults in emergency situations, but also for kids — daycares and nursing homes alike should keep working AEDs at the ready.
As a reader recently pointed out, it is difficult to perform CPR on a small child since it's hard to determine how hard to compress a tiny chest without causing internal injury. If a child is found unresponsive for whatever reason — acute shock due to a just-realized allergy, choking or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), for example — an AED could save a young life.
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, including children playing at parks, teens playing sports and elderly folks alike.
That's why Pamplin Media Group is working with local emergency responders in June to raise money for additional AEDs in Forest Grove, Cornelius, Banks and Gaston.
The News-Times and its business partners are teaming up to purchase one AED that will be deployed in our community by Forest Grove Police Association. Your tax-deductible donations will help us purchase more life-saving AEDs for Forest Grove emergency responders. Make donations at any branch of Premier Community Bank, to the "AEDs Save Lives" fund. Watch our Facebook page for updates.