Evarts Fire Department Lt. and EMT Joshua Napier told Evarts City Council at a recent meeting that the fire department now has an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
“This piece of equipment will greatly benefit the fire department and the city,” said Napier, who was standing in for fire chief Cledo Powers, who was unable to attend. “The number one incident for injury or death on a fire scene is sudden cardiac arrest due to any heart condition with smoke inhalation being one of them.”
Napier said there is a lot of stress on firefighters on the scene of a fire. He said they have to wear heavy protective equipment, which, along with the heat from the fire, will heat the body up.
“This machine can shock the heart on one rhythm, the defib rhythm — it stops the heart for a second and then gets it going back in rhythm,” said Napier.
He added if a victim is a burn victim, the defibrillator can’t be used on them. He said if the victim is conscious you will not use the equipment, but if they are unconscious, no pulse and not breathing, then you can use it on a victim.
“If you get to a patient within 8 minutes you increase their survival rate from 5 percent to 40 percent,” said Napier. “It drastically increases survival rate. It’s very simple to operate and anyone, who can follow instructions, can use it. It’s a fantastic machine.”
Napier told council the AED will benefit city employees also.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time,” said Napier. “Having this AED in the building at city hall when we are not out on a run using it makes it available for city employees if the need arises.”
Napier said the fire department held fundraisers to purchase the AED, which cost $1,128.
Council commended the fire department on this purchase and agreed the AED is an asset to the fire department and the city.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-909-4147 or on Twitter @Nola_hde