Affecting more than 300,000 people every year, sudden cardiac arrest is considered to be one of the leading causes of death among adults older than 40.
According to the SCA Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest is a “health care crisis.”
The fastest paramedics rushing to a patient after he or she has collapsed could take 8-12 minutes. But by having access to an automated external defibrillator, or AED, it could increase the odds of survival from about five percent to 40 percent and higher.
An AED is a small lightweight device that allows people to treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering a shock to the chest of someone experience sudden cardiac arrest, ideally restarting their heart.
In Redmond, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2995 recently received a donated AED and cabinet for its facility. Post 2995 received the AED from the Snoqualmie Tribe and the cabinet from Western Safety in Seattle.
Enjoying a recent evening of music at the facility, former Marine and Vietnam War veteran Robert Nelson — who was an all-American post commander from 1995-96 — and Cecilia Maerz agreed that an AED would truly benefit Post 2995 and surrounding businesses.
“I have seen several people go down for various reasons,” said Maerz, a lifetime auxiliary member from Post 5694 in Illinois and guest of Post 2995. “We have 911 [and] they respond fairly quickly here but there’s not much I can do, or anybody else with training [can do] because we don’t have [an AED].”
The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization compromised of “eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard, and reserve forces,” according to the VFW of the United States. Its mission is to foster camaraderie among U.S. veterans of overseas conflicts.
Post 2995 provides an array of support services to active duty, formerly active duty veterans and their families and the community. Post services include post surgeon assistance, which provides care and comfort to veterans in VA hospitals around the region; post service officers who coordinate direct material support to needy veterans in the community and post troop support groups who send care packages weekly to frontline troops in combat zones around the world. In addition the post’s honor guard and rifle team provides regular memorial services for deceased veterans. And the post chaplain provides spiritual guidance and morale to post members, other veteran and their families.
According to club manager Rob Bailey, the average age of most members is about 75 — but all ages are welcome. If an emergency were to happen and the fire department across the street was out, Bailey said it could take longer for another department to respond to their location. Having an AED could be beneficial.
Having various elder members at the post influenced the push toward getting an AED. And with its ongoing activities, having access to an AED will increase the odds of survival among post members.
VFW post employees and several volunteers will be trained by the Redmond Fire Department in the proper use of the AED. Once the AED is registered with King County, surrounding businesses could be directed to use the AED located at the post upon calling 911.
Prior to receiving the AED, Maerz had contacted various organizations about assisting Post 2995 in this undertaking. As a result, the post received an AED donation from the Snoqualmie Tribe and a cabinet donated from Western Safety.
“We want to once again show thanks and appreciation for both the Snoqualmie Tribe and Western Safety for helping with the undertaking,” Maerz said.