AEDs to be placed in various locations around Poulsbo

In efforts to potentially save lives in large public settings, Poulsbo Rotary is donating five Automated External Defibrillators to the city to be placed at various locations.

Sponsored by Rotary, Parks and Recreation and Poulsbo Fire Department, the program will place AEDs at Waterfront, Fish, Raab and Lions parks, along with at the Kitsap Bank ATM near Marina Market downtown, the City Council was told May 15. The price is $1,500 per unit, which includes supplies, case and a bleed kit, per council documents. Installation will be provided by Rotary volunteers, while training will be provided by the fire department. Parks and Rec will be in charge of monitoring the units.

In total, the five units will cost $8,075, which will be paid for by Rotary. It’s possible more AEDs could be added to more locations in the future.

“This is something we’ve been talking about for a while,” Parks and Recreation director Jeff Ozimek said. “This will save lives. Anybody can suffer from cardiac arrest regardless of your age or activity. Every minute that passes where someone doesn’t have access to an AED is ten percent off the chance of their survival. This is just the starting point. Once we have one person who is saved from this it will be worth all the effort that was put into it.”

Councilmember Gary McVey was a proponent of the program but asked how the units could avoid being vandalized as that has been an issue at many parks. Ozimek said they will be placed in highly visible locations to make it easier for the public to witness criminal activity. He also said they are very loud so people will know right away that they are being messed with, adding that many parks departments place AEDs outside and there have been few problems.

The program is modeled after a similar initiative the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island took after Jack Sutherland suffered cardiac arrest at a Rotary lunch meeting, per documents. Three Rotarians administered CPR until the fire department arrived. Sutherland was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and survived, leading to development of their program. There are now over 70 AED units installed on BI in places where people gather.

An AED is a portable device used to treat a person whose heart has suddenly stopped, documents read. The AED provides a shock to the heart to restore normal heartbeat. AEDs include instructions on when and how to use them.

Training is recommended, but someone with no training also can use the device. Over the past 10 years, 8% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims have survived. Of those, 73% had both immediate CPR intervention and electrical shock by a defibrillator.