An automated external defibrillator machine during cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death.
For this reason, the American Heart Association supports placing the AED units, which check heart rhythm and launch a shock if necessary, in public areas like malls and parks.
Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department is in the process of applying for a grant to purchase 10 new machines to replace older ones, said Jeff Moffitt, recreation supervisor of the department. Ten were purchased last year using a grant from AEDGrant.com, which gives the department a discount per unit.
In March, Gainesville’s City Commission approved the department’s request to apply for the grant again. The normal price for each AED unit is $1,459, but with the grant, they are about $995, Moffitt wrote in an email.
“We have not used any of ours since 2004,” when the first 13 machines were purchased, Moffitt said. “But they are very, very important.”
Bill McCrea, a captain with Gainesville Fire Rescue, said performing CPR and using the AED can restore victims’ regular blood flow and better their chance of survival. The original 13 machines still work, but the models are outdated.
But Moffitt said there are enough batteries and pads for the original 13 to last through 2017, so as the replacement ones come in, they’re moving the older ones to areas that previously didn’t have AEDs.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 4/9/2015 under the headline “Parks to upgrade medical devices”]