First responders know as well as anyone that in an emergency situation, basic CPR and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) may mean the difference between life and death.
On Sunday, Don's Market installed an AED unit donated to the store by the North Fork Ambulance Association through its AED Program.
"It's a great tool to have in place where we see 700 people in a day," said Brad Holt with Don's Market. Holt served on the Paonia Fire Department and knows all too well how important proper training and equipment are when someone suffers a heart attack.
NFA Paonia Captain Steve Simpson explained to Don's management how the devices work. They will train their employees, and are offering them the option of taking a CPR certification training course in the near future.
The purpose of the AED project is to increase the chances of survival for those who experience a sudden cardiac arrest emergency in the North Fork Valley, explained NFA executive director Kathy Steckel. Communities with comprehensive AED programs have a survival rate of nearly 40 percent for cardiac arrest victims. Through the local program, NFA provides training to the public, and to employees and customers with AEDs in or near their location.
The NFA has installed and recently updated more than 20 AEDs located throughout the North Fork Valley. Many of the AEDs were donated to NFA after the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Units were required at regular intervals throughout the Salt Lake City area, said Steckel. When the Olympics ended, the units were collected and donated to numerous EMS agencies and organizations. Local law enforcement vehicles and ambulances all have them.
In recent months new AEDs were purchased by the NFA with money made at the 2017 Holiday Marketplace, held every December in Hotchkiss. The units were gifted to the Hotchkiss K-8 School, Hotchkiss Marshall's office and, most recently, to Don's Market.
"The North Fork Ambulance is proud to donate life-saving devices to local businesses, schools and public facilities," said Steckel.