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Life-saving devices being installed throughout community

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In February, the Bothwell Foundation, in partnership with Bothwell Regional Health Center and Missouri Heart Center, hosted a Wear Red for Women luncheon in support of American Heart Month. Proceeds from the event were used to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for placement in several highly-trafficked locations in and around Sedalia.

An AED is a small, lightweight device that allows first responders and even individuals to treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering a shock to the victim’s chest, ideally restarting their heart.

Lauren Thiel-Payne, Bothwell Foundation executive director, worked with Eric Dirck, Pettis County Ambulance District (PCAD) EMS chief, to identify 11 locations in Sedalia to place AEDs. The luncheon raised $30,000 and was so successful that 20 devices were purchased. Several have already been installed.

“We were thrilled at the support we had for the 2020 event and the cause,” Thiel-Payne said. “It was such a great example of our community getting behind a really worthwhile need that can literally save peoples’ lives.”

Dirck said PCAD is identifying locations of all AEDs in the community and creating a map for first responders.

“It’s really important that our 911 operators and police and fire dispatchers know where all AEDs are located,” he said. “So when they get a call about an incident, they can share that resource with citizens who are encountering an emergency.”

While none of the publicly-placed AEDs has been used yet, there’s security knowing they are available if needed, said Amy Epple, Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department director. In July, one of the devices was placed at Dey Baseball Field at Liberty Park Stadium and another at the soccer complex at Clover Dell Park. Other AEDs are located at Liberty and Centennial pools, Convention Hall and the ball fields at Centennial Park.

“An AED is the one piece of equipment we hope never has to be used but it is a blessing to have if we ever need it,” Epple said. “While the incidence of heart attacks is higher in the older age groups, we do know by research that when younger populations suffer heart attacks, they mostly occur during physical activity, such as participating in a sporting event. It’s why having an AED readily available is important in case it is ever needed.”

Epple said Clara Scott, a recreation supervisor, has certified and trained 52 staff and volunteers in CPR, first aid and AED use so far in 2020.

“You always hope you will never need to use a defibrillator,” she said. “But that one time you do need it, that could be the difference between life and death. We so appreciate the Wear Red Committee and Bothwell Foundation’s efforts to give us two AEDs at no cost.”

Thiel-Payne said the foundation continues to accept funds to purchase additional devices and is planning its 2021 Wear Red for Women luncheon. Proceeds from the event will also go toward buying more devices as the need for coverage continues.

“There are several large event locations like The Venue and Foundry 324,” she said. “They are big buildings with the potential for lots of people to gather and are ideal locations for an AED.”

People interested in making a donation toward the purchase of an AED can contact the Bothwell Foundation or attend the 2021 Wear Red luncheon on Feb. 26. Tickets will be on sale in December. To donate or be a part of the event planning committee, contact Thiel-Payne at 660-829-7786 or lthiel@brhc.org.

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