Be prepared for emergencies

Published 6:06 pm Monday, August 14, 2017

A lot can happen in just 10 minutes.

Sometimes, those 10 minutes could mean the difference between life and death.

That’s often the case for victims who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Without proper treatment, the chance of survival for a victim of cardiac arrest can decrease by about 10 percent with every minute that passes, according to the American Red Cross.

That’s why the Red Cross urges that all Americans should be within four minutes of an AED — an automated external defibrillator — at all times.

An AED is a portable device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and can detect an irregular, possibly life-threatening heartbeat. If necessary, the AED delivers electric shock to help re-establish regular rhythm in the heart of a patient suffering from a cardiac emergency.

A project in downtown Washington earlier this summer made it possible for residents and visitors of Washington to find themselves near an AED machine if an emergency were to happen. Arts of the Pamlico, in partnership with First South Bank, installed this life-saving device in the front of the Turnage Theatre.

The project came after an incident downtown, when a man, just outside the Turnage, suffered a cardiac incident and many bystanders rushed to his side to perform CPR until first responders arrived.

The bystanders and first responders were able to save the man in that particular incident; however, there are thousands of cardiac arrest incidents that occur every day where the outcome is not as fortunate. But, it’s possible that more lives could be saved if residents have easy access to an AED machine.

Close-by AED machines save lives. The Red Cross reports that access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year.

It’s vital that residents and businesses in Beaufort County remain knowledgeable about the location and the function of this life-saving device.

AEDs in downtown Washington are located at First Presbyterian Church and Arts of the Pamlico. There are also AEDs at Beaufort County schools and Beaufort County Community College’s campus.