AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — A fun day in town can turn scary when a person is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Red Cross, cardiac arrest is frighteningly common: every minute of every day, there is another victim. That’s one reason why the Rotary Club of Aiken decided to put AEDS in popular areas.
“Anywhere there are people, and you can expect some of them may have heart issues,” said John Lindsey.
Two devices were installed; one in “The Alley,” and another at the AECOM Center for Performing Arts. The city placed them based on high-traffic areas.
Ladonna Armstrong works downtown, and she says it’s nearly impossible to assist someone when the alley is packed with people.
“When Newberry street is closed off for festivals, it does not have a whole lot of direct access,” explained Armstrong. “As well as the alley being a pedestrian area, doesn’t have access as well.”
“The key question is, can we save time and get them that help before they get to a hospital?” asked Lindsey.
A study published last year in the journal “circulation,” estimates that about 1,700 lives are saved in the United States every year by bystanders using an AED. Lindsey says he is glad the city recognizes that every second count.
“That is what this all about, is an effort to create a greater margin of safety for these citizens and the folks downtown enjoying the city,” explained Lindsey.
“This the perfect place to start,” said Armstrong. “It will be a wonderful thing for more downtowns to have this.”
Lindsey adds the Rotary Club of Aiken has identified 12 places in Aiken County in need of AEDs. The City of Aiken now has four defibrillators installed.
Photojournalist: Will Baker