What should you do if someone falls down and appears to have no heart beat at a local business?

Look for an AED hanging in a white case on the wall, or a sign that tells where an AED is located in the business. Several businesses now display AEDs where they are accessible.

AED stands for automated external defibrillator, and is a portable electronic device designed to analyze a rhythm and decide if it is safe to deliver a shock, explains Adam Mannausau, chief of International Falls Fire, Rescue, EMS.

“The value of having AEDs accessible to the public is that they save lives,” Mannausau said. “Early use of an AED and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is proven to increase the chances of survival from cardiac arrest.”

In an effort to save lives, the department has placed AEDs in several businesses in the community, including Hardee’s and Stewart’s SuperOne in International Falls, Thunderbird Lodge in the Island View area, the YKnot at Pelland Junction at Highways 11 and 71, Ash Ka Nam Resort off Highway 53, and other businesses have purchased them on their own.

Mannausau said AEDs have also been placed at most of the churches in the community, all city and Koochiching County buildings, area school buildings, Ranier Community Building, and the Falls International Airport terminal.

Dave Peterson of Hardee’s, Highway 11-71, said he’s happy to have an AED in his business.

“If somebody gets in a situation where it’s needed, it’s nice to know these are around the community,” Peterson said.

He encouraged other businesses to consider placing them in their buildings where they are easily accessed.

Peterson said the AED at Hardee’s has never been needed.

“And hopefully we never have to use it,” he added.

The benefit of AEDs in general, Mannausau said, is the ability to quickly deliver an electrical shock to start the heart and restore a normal rhythm.

Early CPR along with early defibrillator increases the rate of survival for someone who has gone into cardiac arrest, he said.

“The advantage of having these devices in local businesses and public areas, is so they are accessible to the public when needed,” he said. “The sooner they are applied and CPR is started the better chance of survival.”

The AED includes directions, noted Peterson.

“It’s simple, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it,” he said.

Mannausau agreed, adding AEDs are easy to use and safe.

“Even if a person has not been trained in the use of an AED, they cannot hurt another person with it,” he said. “If a person does not have a ‘shockable’ rhythm, the device will tell the user that, and is it not capable of shocking at that point.”

The AED is fully automated with voice instructions at every step, along with easy to follow pictures to make it very easy for a user to operate, Mannausau said.

Pancakes for AEDs

Wonder how places like Hardee’s got its AED?

If you’ve eaten at the annual pancake fundraiser held by the International Falls Fire, Rescue, EMS at the Falls Fire Station, you probably helped purchase some of the AEDs now found in local businesses, Mannausau said.

With money raised by the fundraiser, two AEDs each year for the past three years have been purchased and placed in local businesses.

“We take into consideration where other AEDs in the community are, along with business hours and accessibility to the public when deciding which businesses will receive an AED,” Mannausau said.

He encouraged business owners to contact him at the Fire Station at 283-2929 if they would like to purchase an AED.

“We can purchase for a discount over the open market,” he said. “Also, it ensures we have the same style of AED with compatibility for our devices on the ambulances.”

In addition, he noted that should a local business purchase an AED on their own, the International Falls Ambulance Service will do periodic maintenance checks on the device, along with checking components to make sure they’re up to date.

“We would also offer training opportunities for employees if the business desired,” Mannausau said.

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