February is Heart Health Awareness Month so our topic this month is about the benefits of an Automated External Defibrillator.  What is an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)? The following information has been adapted from the American Heart Association.
An AED is a lightweight portable device that sends an electric shock through the chest to the heart.  The shock can potentially stop a fatal heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to occur in the setting of sudden cardiac arrest.  When sudden cardiac arrest occurs it is usually from the heart electrical activity malfunctioning and this causes the heart to stop.  If not treated within minutes, it will lead to death. A victim’s chance of surviving drops 7-10% for every minute a normal heart beat isn’t restored.
AEDs make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency when defibrillation is required.  AEDs are portable and can be used by non-medical/lay rescuers.  The AED has a built in computer that assesses the rhythm and tells the rescuer whether defibrillation is needed.  Vocal prompts  guide the user through all steps in this process.  Although formal training is not required, it is recommended so that the user is more comfortable when the need arises.
At Myers Memorial UMC we currently have one AED located in the hallway between the education building and the sanctuary.  It hangs on the wall nearest the education building side of the hallway. The AED, in conjunction with rapid use of 9-1-1 and the use of CPR are all vital parts in improving the survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
Unfortunately, we have postponed our CPR course previously scheduled for February. The Health Cabinet and Safe Sanctuary committees are working to develop a ‘first responder’ list, rotation and keys to identifying congregation members who are comfortable responding to emergencies should the need arise on a Sunday morning or other times when we are gathered together.