The City of Paso Robles aims to achieve a greater level of safety with the installation of its first automated external defibrillator (AED) available to the public 24/7.
“Four minutes is usually the baseline of when someone goes into an irreversible brain death because of lack of oxygen, lack of heartbeat and that’s what we’re trying to intervene is within that four minutes of giving them some artificial respirations, doing those cardiac chest compressions," said Fire Captain John T. Prickett, City of Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services.
The city has AEDs in the library, the Paso Robles Historical Society, the theater, Barney Schwartz Park, Centennial Park, the municipal pool, the senior center, and the veteran's center.
But Prickett says the city has struggled to ensure an AED is available to the community at any time of the day.
“AEDs have been proven to be very beneficial in helping to reverse a cardiac arrest and I can’t guarantee the fire station is going to be there in a quick manner. They have to come from the station or they have to come from emergencies," Prickett said.
Prickett says this AED is unique because it is the first to be available 24/7 and was placed in the Downtown City Park due to it being a central location and a busy area where many big events are hosted.
The machine walks the user through all the necessary steps and offers instructions in English and Spanish.
A large portion of the funding that made the installation of the AED possible came from the Justin Community Foundation and the Elks Club.
Community members and visitors support the installation of the AED.
“Absolutely. You never know when an emergency is gonna hit,” said Kendall Vandenberg, Paso Robles resident.
“I think it’s a good idea. There’s a need for something like that in emergencies," said Dennis Dobbie, Paso Robles resident.
“If you can cut down on costs to the hospitals or loss of life in any way with activities like this that seem fairly low cost and easy to implement then absolutely,” said Shamus Donlon, visiting from Texas.
Having a defibrillator in a public place can potentially cut down the response time in the event of an emergency and keep people out of the hospital, saving lives and wallets.
“We’ve seen so many increased saved rates by bystander CPR and also by the initiation of an AED machine in the community and also in the cardiac arrest setting,” Prickett said.
In the coming weeks, Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services will hold a presentation ceremony for the save station in order to recognize the charitable contributions of the donors who made this possible.
Throughout the next couple of weeks, the Paso Robles Fire Department plans on visiting every business in the downtown corridor to help them learn CPR and to feel comfortable working with the AED.