Grant supplies more potentially lifesaving AEDs

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

Local deputies with firsthand knowledge of the importance of accessible automated external defibrillators are getting expanded access to them thanks to an assist by the Dubois County Emergency Management Agency.

Deputy Clint Gogel doubles as an EMT on the Ireland Volunteer Fire Department. Last year, when he was a first responder taking EMT classes, he talked with Dubois County Ambulance Services Director Suzan Henke and went to EMA Director Tammy Humbert and asked if any grants could be available for portable defibrillators.

After doing some homework, Humbert’s EMA office applied for an Indiana Homeland Security Foundation Grant on behalf of the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department.

Humbert says the foundation grant program for public safety organizations supports public safety projects, with a focus on ensuring citizen safety. The guidelines dictated that grant proposals were to concentrate on the priority areas of lifesaving activities, day-to-day operational requirements or improvements to existing capabilities.

Dubois County was approved for the grant, which means the sheriff’s department is getting three AEDs valued at more than $3,700.

Gogel said the sheriff’s department is developing guidelines to deploy the AEDs on different shifts in the patrol vehicles of deputies who are already certified in both CPR and AED use. The jail and sheriff’s office has had two AEDs in the building for about five years.

It is a big deal, because law enforcement often arrives before emergency medical personnel during cardiac emergencies where the immediate use of an AED is vital.

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest annually kills 335,000 people of all ages and fitness levels without warning. If the first person on the scene knew CPR and applied an AED within five minutes, the AHA estimates at least 40,000 more lives per year could be saved by electric shocks restoring hearts to a regular rhythm.

“They (AEDs) are worth their weight in gold,” says Deputy Jesus Monarrez, who has been present at two emergencies when AEDs have been pressed into service. Both times, Monarrez says, a life was saved.

The most recent of those incidents occurred just last year, and also involved Gogel.

Monarrez was off duty and in an area of Ireland where an electric company was working on wires in April. He noticed a hard hat fall from a bucket truck at the scene at county roads 250N and 600W, which is how he learned an electric lineman had gone unresponsive after coming into contact with an energized line.

He called for an ambulance, helped transfer the victim to the ground and then assisted performing CPR.

Gogel was also off duty, gardening at his Ireland home. He had his fire department pager with him, which enabled him to hear the emergency call. He rolled up at the scene just as the Ireland Volunteer Fire Department’s rescue truck got there.

With the AED off the truck in tow, Gogel ran toward the victim. Monarrez had already told others at the scene to unbutton the victim’s shirt.

After an AED shock, Monarrez continued CPR.

A Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services ambulance arrived next.

Because county fire departments, Memorial EMS crews and now the sheriff’s department all use the same kind of AEDs, responders were able to plug the leads already attached to the victim directly to the unit in the ambulance
After another shock, the victim, a southern Spencer County resident, was breathing and, after being airlifted, on his way to recovery.

“The earlier you get the AED on, the better,” Gogel says.




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