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An automated external defibrillator or “AED” is a portable electronic device that analyzes the heart’s electrical rhythm for abnormalities. When needed, and AED administers a shock, called defibrillation, to a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.

The shock may help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm and can increase the chance of survival. Uncorrected, these cardiac conditions rapidly lead to irreversible brain or tissue damage and possibly death after approximately three to five minutes. For every minute that a person in cardiac arrest goes without being successfully treated (by defibrillation) the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. That sounds scary; do you wish you could do something to help?

Saint John’s recently purchased an AED for use at the church. We’ll soon have it mounted in a prominent place, somewhere near the Welcome Center. If an emergency comes up in the mean time, you can find it under the Welcome Center counter.

The “Automated” part of the title refers to the unit’s ability to autonomously analyze the patient’s condition and to assist the person using the machine. The vast majority of units have spoken prompts, and some also have visual displays to instruct the user. In other words, it guides you through the process, step-by-step. Most units are designed for use by non-medical operators. Their ease of use has given rise to the notion of public access defibrillation, which experts agree has the potential to be the single greatest advance in the treatment of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest since the invention of CPR! We are very blessed to have this healthcare advance right in our own building in case of such an emergency.

However, we need more than just an AED to potentially save lives. A vital component of every AED program is proper training. We are looking for volunteers from the congregation who would like to participate in classes to learn how to use our new AED. We have also invited the Open Arms Preschool and the Boy Scouts, who also use our building, to join us for training. We will have a booth set up May 8th in the Large Fellowship Hall between services with a training model on display for everyone to see and touch. We are scheduling classes taught by the Red Cross for AED training and possibly CPR and First Aid also. Times and dates will be available at our booth. Please consider signing up to learn how you could help someone in need by learning these important skills!

Saint John’s Board of Worship and the Arts oversees the details of the congregation’s worship life.