The Fulton County Heart Radiothon, which has purchased about 100 automatic external defibrillators and distributed them throughout the county, is looking at another brand of AED.
The Radiothon, a 39-year tradition in Fulton County, airs over WMTR (96.1-FM) on Thursday, Feb. 14.
County “celebrities,” from elected officials to high school cheerleaders, host the program, collecting pledges of money by phone for songs played over the radio. It starts at 6 am, and runs late into the night.
Over the years, the Radiothon has generated thousands of dollars toward heart-related training and equipment, including AEDs.
AEDs are electronic devices designed to be used by bystanders and rescue personnel to resuscitate persons suffering sudden cardiac arrest.
A person applies the AED pads to a victim’s side and chest.
The machine can diagnose the heartbeat, and determine if a life-saving jolt of electricity is needed.
Fulton County AEDs have been credited with savings lives.
Rod Cheney, a paramedic and head of the Fulton County Emergency Medical Service, and a member of the Radiothon board, said the new AED is about $200 more expensive than the AED the county annually purchases. An individual AED can cost around $1,500.
But, the new AED has several important features.
When a person is performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a cardiacarrest victim, the new AED has a screen, with a graph, that shows if good CPR is being given.
In other words, the machine tells the person if their compressions are deep enough and fast enough.
In addition, the new AED gives audio feedback.
“It assists the bystander in providing more quality chest compressions.” Cheney said.
The pads in an AED are designed with an adhesive backing. They provide an electrical connection between the machine and the victim’s body.
The current AEDs use their own pads, which must be replaced every two years.
Pads on the new AEDs last five years and are the same pads used by Fulton County rescue squads.
When medics arrive, they must remove the pads on the current AEDs and apply their own pads.
If a new AED is used, medics can connect their equipment directly to the AED pads.
One of the main costs of maintaining an AED is the battery.
The current AEDs require a special battery, with a fouryear life. Replacing it costs $250.
The new AED utilizes a standard camera battery that lasts five years and costs about $30, Cheney said.
Cheney said two new AEDS will be purchased for testing and evaluation.
Both will be placed in Wauseon, so they can be monitored closely.
The 2013 Radiothon goal is $26,500, $1,000 less than last year.
Of that goal, $2,600 is set aside to purchase the two new AEDs. Another $5,000 has been earmarked for replacement batteries and pads for some of the AEDs already in service.
The board has allocated another $5,000 for heart-related equipment for the Fulton County Health Center, $500 for materials for cholesterol screenings, and $200 for CPR manuals for classes.
The board has set aside $4,600 for the Teen Tickers program. Under Teen Tickers, high school seniors and freshmen have a small amount of blood taken through a finger stick.
Results are used to both track the general health of the teens, and look for health problems.
A figure of $4,000 has been allocated for community screenings, which utilize the same test for county citizens as Teen Tickers.
Another $1,000 is set aside for Fulton County schools for CPR Anytime kits, a homebased program that teaches CPR.
The Radiothon board is earmarking $2,100 of its goal for Fulton County rescue squads, so they can purchase heart-related equipment.
Two Fulton County nursing homes, Fairlawn Haven and Fulton Manor, will each receive $250 to purchase heart-related equipment.
The Radiothon board also sets aside $1,000 for its own promotional supplies.