By Laurelle Walsh
Starting Jan. 1, organizations that host events in the Methow Valley will be able to borrow an Automated External Defibrillator — or AED — to have on site during events.
Aero Methow Rescue Service received a $3,500 grant from the North Central Emergency Care Council for two new AEDs that will be dedicated to the community loan program. Left-over funds will be used to provide free CPR instruction to a responsible member of any group borrowing an AED.
An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and, if needed, sends an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. Training is required before using an AED.
“One or two people who will be there for the entire event must be trained in CPR and AED operations, and be responsible for engaging the unit if needed,” said Aero Methow community education specialist Theresa Remsberg.
The American Heart Association offers an online course that can be taken at any time, followed by a 45-minute skills check at Aero Methow, Remsberg said.
Requests for a loaner AED must be made at least two weeks before an event. An application form may be found on the Aero Methow website, www.aeromethow.org.
The idea for a loaner AED came after the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival asked to borrow one for the duration of its event, said Aero Methow Director Cindy Button. “We couldn’t dedicate one to the entire two weeks of the festival, so we deemed there was a need,” Button said.
The North Central Emergency Care Council funded Aero Methow’s loaner program to “enhance the safety and well being of the community and to raise awareness of CPR,” Button said.
Groups that might want an AED on site during an event may include weddings, family reunions, festivals or sporting events.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
There are 23 AEDs owned by businesses around the valley, such as the Mazama Store and the Winthrop Barn. Loup Loup Ski Bowl and Methow Valley Back Country Horsemen share a unit that is kept by either organization in opposite seasons, Button said.
Aero Methow’s loaner AEDs are the same brand and style as most of the others in the valley, according to Remsberg.
For more information, contact Remsberg at 997-4013 or email@example.com.