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Posey County received 26 life saving defibrillators

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By Rachel Christian

A combination of grants and partnerships helped fund the purchase of 26 pieces of lifesaving equipment known as AEDs in Posey County.

Automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, send electrical impulses to the heart of someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest to try to restore a natural rhythm. Although AEDs are not frequently used during emergency runs, according to Posey County EMS Director Chuck Thompson, the portable machines can mean the difference between life and death when it is needed.

“We may only use them on roughly 5 percent of our calls, but for someone in cardiac arrest, it is a very important piece of equipment to have,” Thompson said.

Posey County EMS already has a couple of larger, more specialized defibrillators that can perform other tasks like checking an individual’s blood pressure. The reason the new AEDs are especially beneficial to Posey County EMS first responders is because of a new technique used by the department.

“Studies have shown that patients have a greater chance of survival when the larger defibrillator is used on the front of their body, while the AED is used on their back,” Thompson explained. “We’ve done this three times, and all three times, the individual survived.”

The Posey County Community Foundation and the Debones Hospital HeartSafe Team donated grants used to purchase 26 total AEDs for the following departments: the volunteer township fire departments of Black, Marrs, Griffin-Bethel, Smith, Point and Wadesville-Center; the New Harmony, Mount Vernon and Poseyville fire departments; the Poseyville Town Marshall; Posey County Sheriff’s Department and Posey County EMS.

Thompson also said that representatives from Deaconess discussed the possibility of implementing AEDs in government buildings like the Courthouse and Hovey House after personnel at those locations received training on how to operate the machines.

The 26 AEDs are expected to finish arriving this week, and will be put into place immediately.

The Posey County Sheriff’s Department received an additional AED Thursday from the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police. The donation came through the Evansville FOP as part of a $250,000 grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.