"We've been doing CPR training for a number of years," said Jiggs Moore, supervisor for Sikeston's parks division. "We decided it might be good, if the city had the funding, to acquire some AEDs for the city buildings where there is a lot of public usage. So we purchased three -- there is one in City Hall, one in Public Safety headquarters, and one here at the Clinton building."
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator, according to Sherrie Brethold who oversees instructor programs in this area for the Red Cross office in Cape Girardeau.
"If a person is in cardiac arrest and their heart has quit beating, this device will give them an electrical shock to get their heart beating again," Brethold said. "If you have an AED and use it on a victim who is in cardiac arrest, they have a 95 percent chance of survival."
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation alone, on the other hand, only provides a 4 percent chance of survival, according to Brethold.
While AEDs are much more effective than CPR, "AEDs and CPR go hand in hand," Brethold said.
The chest compressions of CPR are still important to circulate oxygen to keep vital organs alive until the heart can be restarted, she explained.
Brethold said AED purchases and training are becoming more and more popular as word gets out about how effective they are and how easy they are to use.
"They're not real complicated," Moore said. "The nice thing about these AEDs is they give you voice prompts to kind of guide you."
Certification and training are required of users, however, "so they know what to look for, so they know when to use it, when not to use it," Brethold said.
The AED/CPR training program teaches a "cardiac chain of survival," according to Moore, which he described as "a sequence of four events needed to give a cardiac arrest victims their best chance for survival."
"The first step is early recognition of the problem and calling 911," Moore said. "The second step is early CPR. The third step is early defibrillation. They tell us that each minute that defibrillation is delayed reduces the victim's chance of survival by about 10 percent. The fourth step in the sequence is early advanced medical care. This is where the professional EMS folks get there as quickly as possible to care for the victim."
Moore said while the program is voluntary for city employees, "we're hoping to get as many trained in CPR and the AED as we can."
This year, the city held two training classes open to all city employees and will definitely continue holding classes in 2007, according to Moore.
"We've trained 10 folks so far out of City Hall and public safety headquarters," he said.
Plans for this coming year include training additional staff from those departments as well as employees of the Public Works Department, Moore said.