Posted: Jul 23, 2012 5:16 PM by Keli Moore
Updated: Oct 11, 2012 2:15 PM
More than 12,000 athletes swam, cycled and ran yesterday in San Luis Obispo's annual triathlon. The race was cut short for one man -- who had to be pulled out of the Sinsheimer pool after sudden cardiac arrest.
According to the American Red Cross sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, striking 300,000 people each year - approximately 5% of those people live.
AED's are required in gyms, hospitals, airports, city buildings, and pools, but they are not required in businesses.
This weekend's incident is now serving as a reminder of how important this machine can be.
"When we pulled him out of the pool, he was completely pale and his lips were turning blue because he was having a hard time getting oxygen," said Samantha Kelley, a lifeguard.
That's when the lifeguards grabbed an AED.
"It's one of those things that you hope you never have to use, but we are so glad that we had it," said lifeguard Bryan Rengel.
According to the American Red Cross, an AED costs anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000. Lifeguards said they are easy to use.
"You just open it up and it gives you directions," said veteran lifeguard Rengel .
During Sunday's triathlon an AED machine was used within minutes, and medical experts said this was crucial because timing is everything. According to the American Red Cross, after 10 minutes, the chance of survival drastically decreases.
"There are no words that describe the importance of having an AED and CPR known throughout the community." said Lynne Callahan, the widow of former Fire Chief John W Callahan. "Yesterday is an absolute testament to how this one small tool can work to save a life."
"Almost 2 years ago, my husband suddenly collapsed of cardiac arrest. CPR was administered, but there was no AED available," she said.
So, she founded the non-profit, John W. Callahan Heart Safe Project. She said its goal is to create awareness and accessibility county wide.
"We want to see them in businesses and on street corners. My project will supply businesses with an AED at no cost. The only responsibility is for them to get trained in CPR and AED use," she said.
Four AED's were donated in John Callahan's honor. One will soon be placed at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, but three AED's still need a home.
If interested in obtaining an AED for your business call
(805) 458-9321. If you want to donate you can call the same number.
For more on local CPR and AED classes go to www.handshelpingheart.org
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