Teaming up for AEDs

The partnership between two county agencies has led to the purchase of an important tool that department officials say has helped save lives.

Two automated external defibrillators, which are used by the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, were bought with the help of a grant that was secured by Webster County Health Department.

The AEDs have been in use for almost a year, according to Sheriff Jim Stubbs.

“We had been looking to get a few for the department,” Stubbs said. “In talking with Kari (Prescott, director of the Webster County Health Department) she thought that she could procure those for us.”

Prescott said her department was able to use a grant to purchase the AEDs.

“The purpose of the grant was for emergency response needs in the community,” she said. “We did an assessment and AEDs were identified as something that was needed.”

Stubbs said portable AEDs are commonly used by law enforcement.

“It’s not a new concept,” he said. “Other departments have used them.”

The AEDs were proven useful two weeks ago when one of them was used for the first time to revive a patient.

Deputies and paramedics were called to Otho after a report of an unresponsive person.

Deputy Amy Stringer was the first emergency responder to arrive on scene.

“When I got there, he didn’t have a pulse and he wasn’t breathing,” Stringer said. “So I immediately started using the AED.”

The AED included instructions on how to use the device and told how to use CPR to revive the patient.

Stringer said the AED could also tell when she wasn’t doing something correctly and told her how to fix it.

“About six minutes in, my CPR slowed down and it was telling me that I needed to speed up,” she said. “It started making a beat and told me to follow the rhythm.”

Thanks to Stringer’s actions and those of emergency personnel from Otho and Trinity Regional Medical Center, the man survived.

Stubbs said the partnership between the sheriff and Health Department will help more people.

“The cooperation between Public Health and the Sheriff’s Department ultimately benefits the public,” he said. “It’s a device we wouldn’t have had at the time without the assistance of public health.”

Prescott added the AEDs give deputies help if they arrive on scene before paramedics.

“She (Stringer) had this portable device that she could use to address the situation immediately and not have to wait,” she said. “That gives deputies a major advantage when dealing with the time delay.”

There are also other ways in which the Health Department and Sheriff’s Department work together, according to Stubbs.

“They’ve provided us with special containers to put needles in, and all of those are in the cars,” he said. “We also conduct training with them. It’s one of those things that really turns out to be a big benefit.”