Posted by By Jamey Cross March 5, 2023 on Apr 27th 2023

What to know about life-saving equipment coming to Brunswick County parks, buildings

What to know about life-saving equipment coming to Brunswick County parks, buildings
Brunswick County is working to prevent one of the leading causes of death in the United States by investing more than $88,000 in life-saving equipment.

The American Heart Association lists sudden cardiac arrest as one of the leading causes of death in the country, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration data shows more than 10,000 cases occur in the workplace.

In an effort to combat these numbers, Brunswick officials recently signed off to use American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to purchase more than 50 automated external defibrillators to be installed at various county parks and facilities.

What are AEDs, and how much do they cost?

It’s a popular scene in a medical drama: a healthcare professional yells “clear” before delivering a jolt of electricity to the chest in an attempt to restart a failing heart. The machine being used is a defibrillator.

Automated external defibrillators are lightweight, portable defibrillators that can be used at home, school or other places outside a hospital setting.

“Placing AEDs in county facilities, along with providing a proper management system and training for employees on how to use the devices, can mean the difference between life and death,” staff said in the agenda report for the January commissioners meeting.

County staff received a cost estimate from Piedmont Biomedical, a Charlotte-based medical equipment service provider. The company estimated each unit will cost just over $1,700, plus a total of roughly $2,150 annually to replace CPR pads and $3,700 to replace batteries per year for the 51 units. CPR pads and batteries have a four-year shelf life.

According to a staff report, the automated external defibrillators the county considered are compatible with heart monitors used by EMS. This will make care seamless when EMS arrives to a cardiac arrest scene in which a county defibrillator was used. They would simply unhook the pads from the defibrillator and plug in their monitors, staff said.

Where are they going?

According to staff, data shows in 95% of cardiac arrest deaths, the victims die before reaching the hospital. Advocates for automated external defibrillators say survival rates can improve dramatically when care is provided within five to seven minutes.

Automated external defibrillators are planned to be installed at the county’s five library branches, 11 parks, five Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office facilities and eight utilities facilities. Twenty-two defibrillators will be installed at the county’s administration complex, including the courthouse.

The devices will be for staff and public use.

What’s next?

Late last month, following a vote by the county commissioners to approve the use of ARPA funds for the purchase, the county posted an invitation to bid, soliciting bids for 54 automated external defibrillators.

Bids are due by March 14 and, at that time, the county will move forward with the purchase.