First Responders use grant for AEDs

CHASSELL – In a cardiac emergency, time is of the essence.

So the Chassell Township Medical First Responders is naturally excited about its new portable automatic external defibrillators.

In December, the group received a $5,500 grant from the Keweenaw Community Foundation for four AEDs, and also contributed enough money of its own to purchase a fifth. That’s on top of two the first responders had already.

“With the five AEDs, every one of our first responders has an AED in their vehicle, so we don’t have to respond to the hall for a cardiac emergency,” said director Derrick Verran. “We can go right to the scene.”

With 2,000 township residents spread out over 50 square miles, it could take an ambulance more than 20 minutes to arrive on scene, making a fast response crucial, Verran said. The first responders were called out 75 times last year.

The group picked out Philips HeartStart AEDs. They come with a separate child key, which allows the first responders to reduce the amount of shock being delivered.

So far, the new devices haven’t seen action, Verran said.

“We’re thankful for that, but it is nice to know we have them, and they’re available if we need them,” he said.

Other members of the department said improving the old status quo will save time – and possibly lives.

“There’s one call we drove right by the house to get the AED,” said member Erik Stricker.