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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
The Olney Rotary Club took a step toward possibly saving lives when it installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) near the fountain at the Fair Hill shopping center.
The club used some of the money in its Charitable Trust to buy the first of what could be as many as 15 devices to be installed throughout the downtown Olney area.
Fair Hill, owned by Carl M. Freeman Companies, was receptive to the idea and was the first location to get back to the Rotary Club offering permission to install an AED.
“It’s important that we support our community and installing a device that has the potential of saving a life is paramount,” said Michelle D. Freeman, president and CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies.
Mike Weiner, Olney Rotary president and life member of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department, said when the club hosted a speaker who discussed how life-saving rates increase when an AED is used for someone having a heart attack, it jumped out as a service project the club could embrace.
Weiner said AEDs “jump start” the heart when it goes into ventricular fibrillation, and it has been proven that early use by a bystander with access to an AED dramatically increases chances of recovery when compared to just using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Putting AED’s within a short walking distance of a victim increases his or her chances of survival.
The Rotary Club plans to install AED’s outside grocery stores, shopping center anchor stores and restaurants, with 24-hour access.
“We hope no one ever needs to use one, but the life-saving devices placed around our community may one day help bring a victim back,” Weiner said.
The AED’s are installed in weatherproof metal boxes that remain unlocked but sound an alarm when opened.
While Weiner encourages everyone to take a CPR class, CPR training is not required to use the device on someone in need.
After first calling 911, the user pushes the green button and follows the voice prompts on how to place the pads on the patient’s skin. The unit will sense if a shock is needed, and if so, it will tell the user to press the flashing button when safe to do so. If a shock is not needed, it will tell the person to begin performing CPR. The device will provide spoken CPR feedback, telling the user to slow down or speed up.
The AED was purchased from and installed by local company Rescue One Training for Life Inc., an emergency and safety training organization and independent distributor of AEDs and supplies.
Jeremy Gruber, vice president of sales, is a retired captain of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, who was assigned to work at the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department.
He said the cost of each unit, including installation and maintenance, is about $2,000.
Gruber said there are already about 20 AED units around Olney, including at the Olney Boys and Girls Club Community Park, schools, churches, synagogues and fitness facilities.
“AEDs have been used with success in locations within the community multiple times,” he said. “You never want to have to use it, but they are good to have around if you need them.”
As the Rotary Club raises more funds, it will purchase additional units.
“How fast that happens is up to the community,” Weiner said.
To boost its fundraising efforts, the Olney Rotary Club will host a Casino Night and Silent Auction at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Oak Room of Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department. Profits will be distributed to the Rotary’s Charitable Trust and to the American Legion, which is supplying the casino equipment.
To donate an auction item, contact Jenny Gendel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Olney Rotary Club meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. in the Community Room of the Re/MAX building. Visitors are welcomed.
Tax-deductible donations to the AED project can be made through PayPal at http://olneyrotary.org.
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