McDuffie County Fire Chief Bruce Tanner is one happy man.
Thanks to Thomson's Temple Industries, every fire station in McDuffie County has been outfitted with an automated external defibrillator, a device that's used to treat someone who's entered into cardiac arrest.
McDuffie County Fire Chief Bruce Tanner shows one of the AEDs.
Temple donated around $8,500 last month for the purchase of five of the devices, a move Chief Tanner said puts McDuffie County at the head of the class.
"A community of our size, we're probably way ahead of the ballgame, and we can thank Temple Industries for that. We had a plan to buy defibrillators for all of our stations, but we were on a timeline of about five years. They sped that timeline up to maybe a year," he said.
When a person enters cardiac arrest, their heart begins quivering. AEDs work by shocking the heart back into its normal rhythm. When used early and correctly, AEDs can save lives.
"The American Heart Association does a lot of studies on the effectiveness of CPR and things of that nature, and they did a study on early defibrillation (too). They're saying that if defibrillation (is administered) during the first five to six minutes of a person going pulseless, the odds of their recovering from that increases dramatically. So by having these things distributed throughout the county like this, we have increased the odds of our citizens surviving a sudden cardiac arrest tremendously, really," he said.
AEDs are becoming more popular throughout the state of Georgia, often showing up on airplanes and in government buildings.
Some of the key selling points for the new crop of AEDs are size and ease of use.
AEDs are only about a foot long, and they're designed so that anyone can use them. The machine only has two buttons and a set of pads that are applied to the patient to administer the shock.
The machine even helps read the patient's vital signs and will not allow the person to be shocked unless it is absolutely necessary.
The addition of five AEDs brought the total number of fire department AEDs to seven. Chief Tanner said that he's already looking to add more later this year.
"We'd like to see the courthouse have one, and we'd like to see Sweetwater Park to have one on site as well," he said.
He said that if AEDs continue to become readily available, it could help to bring the number of deaths resulting from cardiac arrest down significantly.
"If the county can get CPR-certified, and there are AEDs available, we can definitely make an impact in cardiac arrest deaths in McDuffie County. And that's the whole goal," he said.