NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - More and more machines are talking to you, but not that many try to save your life. "Check responsiveness. Call for help. Stay calm," is what an automated external defibrillator (AED) says to users. Lisa King heads a task force in Nacogdoches County that has successfully placed them in every school in Nacogdoches County. Now it's targeting businesses. "We had three child deaths across the region in East Texas," recalled King. "And since we put the AED into all the schools in nacogdoches, luckily we have not had to use one, but they are there."
The popularity of hybrid cars is why Tipton Ford is the first Nacogdoches business to purchase the $1,200 lifesaver. Mechanics will be entering the high voltage batteries that run the vehicles. "Though it's not likely, it is a possibility that while one of our technicians working on a hybrid could receive some sort of an electrical charge," said Neal Slaten, the dealership's president. Slaten and about five staff members received free training provided by the Nacogdoches Community AED Task Force, a service of Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
As with all medical assistance techniques, there's a certain level of liability. It's an issue that's always on business owners minds, except when it comes to the use of AED's. "I would be more concerned about the liability of not take the precautions," said Slaten. Slaten knows each year at least 164,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. CPR and early defibrillation with an AED more than doubles a victim's chance of survival.
The AED walks the user through each step. It won't deliver a shock unless the heart has stopped. "We call them stupid proof," smiled King. It's equipped with all kinds of safeguards designed to prevent mistakes and abuse. "If people out there think I don't want anybody up there shocking me, it's not going to shock any body unless they need it," said Kaylen Gresham, an employee trained to use the device. It's just enough reassurance that gives users the confidence they need to hopefully save a life.