Timing is everything.
In less than five minutes, a person suffering from cardiac arrest can experience brain damage. In less than eight minutes, they can die.
“Early action is the No. 1 key that’s critical to a positive outcome—and someone being willing to act,” said Lt. Steve Noorbakhsh, of the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department.
Starting CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) quickly can save a life.
Across Mt. Lebanon, there are 13 AEDs located on municipal property and an additional 16 in public safety vehicles, including police patrol cars and all fire department vehicles.
In May, Mt. Lebanon replaced its public AEDs, as they neared the end of their useful life.
“It was really a team effort,” said Lt. Larry Celender, who noted that the first step was to get Commission approval for the purchase.
The new AEDs are equipped with Wi-Fi, which allows firefighters to ensure that the batteries and pads are in working order and alerts them when the device is used.
As a part of the change, Mt. Lebanon also shifted to AEDs that are compatible with Medical Rescue Team South Authority equipment. The pads used to provide an electric shock to heart attack victims can be left on the person through ambulance transport, and even at St. Clair Hospital.
“It saves time,” Celender said.
In the past, AEDs situated outside had to be removed in the winter, as the cold weather would drain their batteries. The fire department also is working with Boy Scout Ben Dougherty, who is placing Stop the Bleed kits, with tools to control bleeding injuries until first responders arrive, in the AED cabinets.
If you see someone who collapsed and you suspect they might be experiencing cardiac arrest, all you need to do is open the AED cabinet and the machine will walk you through each step of the process. AEDs cannot harm someone who is not in cardiac arrest, firefighters said.
AEDs can be found:
• on the second floor of the public safety center
• at the pool, and the ice rink
• on the second floor of the recreation center
• at the tennis center, and in in the the paddle hut
• outside of WesBanco on Beverly Road
• at Mt. Lebanon Public Library
• at the North Garage
• at Dixon Field
• at the golf course
• at the public works building
• at the municipal building