OLYMPIA -- Officials with Thurston County's Medic One program are helping to train public and private employees in the use of Automatic External Defibrillators. The American Heart Association endorsed the public access defibrillator program in 1996. So far, 20 of the units have been placed in various governmental offices and businesses in the county and the heart starting devices have already proven their worth. Thirty people attended defibrillator training in 1999 for use on the Capital Campus and thirty others were trained last year at Valley Athletic Club. The devices were used to restart the hearts of cardiac arrest victims in January of 2000 at the Governor's office and in February of this year at Valley Athletic Club.
Medic One director Steve Romines says, "Nearly anyone can operate the defibrillator after receiving the training. The automated devices lead the operator through the proper steps and the machines are designed with several built in safeguards. They have already proven invaluable in a couple of instances in the Olympia area." Medic One will provide free initial training for those companies who purchase the devices, which cost about $3,400. Private companies can also provide the training.
Romines says, "The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decrease seven to ten-percent with each passing minute. The use of the defibrillators could mean a much greater chance of survival until trained medical responders are able to get to the scene."
Thurston County Commissioners this week authorized purchase of the devices for placement at county government buildings. Medic One will then conduct training for employees at each location.
For more information on the defibrillator program call Medic One at 800-932-3980.