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Defib Machine Ready at Rec Center

February23, 2017 | Jefferson Weaver

Whiteville Parks and Recreation employees are ready in case someone has a heart attack or similar health problem at the recreation center on Nolan Drive.

Using a grant from the Hopey’s Heart Foundation, the rec center is now the proud owner of an emergency Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit.

“Every second counts when someone has a coronary event,” said Whiteville Fire Marshal Hal Lowder, who worked with Interim Parks Director Charlotte Almada to get the grant. “AEDs are standard equipment on many emergency vehicles, and more and more schools have them available.”

The AED is a welcome addition, Almada said.

“Even with extremely fit people, there can be health issues. There are even children with undiagnosed heart problems that can show up when they’re engaged in really active play,” she explained.

Unlike regular defibrillators, an automated external defibrillator requires minimal training to use. It automatically diagnoses the heart rhythm and determines if a shock is needed. The device uses audio and visual commands, to guide even untrained people through its use.

“AEDs are simple lifesavers, and the use of AED’s is now taught in most CPR and first aid classes,” Lowder said.

Even with fast response time by EMTs or paramedics, Lowder said, an AED can make the difference between life and death.

“ With every minute that goes by, survival rates drop up to 10 percent. That leaves a window of 10 minutes in which to potentially save a life, after which few rescue attempts succeed,” he explained.

Hopey’s Heart was founded by WNBA star Tina Charles to honor her late aunt, Maureen “Hopey” Vaz. Charles donated $14,775 for 10 AEDs to the New York Department of Education and Wes Leonard Heart Team before her aunt’s death from organ failure.

The Wes Leonard team places AEDs in schools throughout the state of Michigan. The non-profit was founded in memory of Leonard, who died of cardiac arrest while playing high school basketball.

Charles began her work in earnest after hearing of the Leonard team, establishing the national grant program that requires only a 500 word essay from the applying agency.

Lowder said he hopes the unit never has to be used, “but we’re truly grateful to have it available.

“Anything that can help save a life, especially a young person’s, is important,” he said.


Charlotte Almada and Fire Marshall Hal Lowder

Charlotte Almada and Fire Marshall Hal Lowder