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Mayor's Office

2004 Media Releases

March 11, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Steve Beal, Health Department, 441-8042

12 New Heart Defibrillators to be Placed in Community

Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that Lincoln has received 12 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), which are used in cases of sudden cardiac arrest to shock the heart back to a normal rhythm. The local AED Community Consortium raised $60,000 to purchase the AEDs and place them throughout the community. The Lincoln Police Department has received five AEDs to be placed in police vehicles as part of a pilot project.

"Cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any age, at any time," said Mayor Seng. "We know that immediate treatment is the most important factor in saving lives and preventing permanent damage. I want to thank the donors who provided the funds for these life-saving AEDs. Our community is safer because of this project."

In 2002, Lincoln’s emergency medical system attempted to resuscitate 134 victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and only 15 individuals survived. "The response time is critical and must be done within three to four minutes to avoid brain damage, since ventricular fibrillation is associated with no blood pressure or delivery of oxygen to vital organs especially the brain," said Dr. Andrew Merliss, Lincoln cardiologist and Medical Director of the AED Consortium.

The Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation donated $12,670 for the purchase of seven AEDs. Two will be placed at the Ethel S. Abbott Sports Complex on North 70th Street. The other five will be placed at the American Red Cross - Lancaster County Chapter; the Lancaster Events Center; the Northeast Senior Center; North Star High School; and a location to be determined later.

In addition to purchasing new AEDs, the Consortium is working with Lincoln Fire and Rescue to identify the location of existing AEDs. Nebraska law requires those who have AEDs to register them. Those needing to register their AEDs can call Jill Baker, AED Project Coordinator, at 441-4693 to request a registration card. They can also register on line through the City web site at (click on Lincoln Fire and Rescue).

"Knowing where we currently have AEDs and mapping their locations can provide life-saving information to emergency responders and others who may be able to assist a victim of sudden cardiac arrest," said Steve Beal, Assistant Health Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and Chair of the Consortium.

Others providing funding for the AED project are the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, the BryanLGH Foundation, the BryanLGH Heart Hospital, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, the Nebraska Heart Institute Heart Hospital and an anonymous donor of $5,000.

Project oversight is being provided by the AED Community Consortium, which includes the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department; the American Heart Association-Heartland Division; the American Red Cross - Lancaster County Chapter; the BryanLGH Foundation, Heart Institute and Medical Center; the Health Partners Initiative; EMS Inc.; the Lancaster County Medical Society; the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office; the City Emergency Communications/911 Division; the Lincoln City Council; Lincoln Fire and Rescue; the Lincoln Police Department; Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital; the Nebraska Heart Institute Heart Hospital; the Nebraska Safety Council; St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center; and William Brantley, a cardiac arrest survivor.

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