For decades, the American Red Cross has stressed the importance of learning CPR. Now, the agency says it’s just as important to learn the A-E-D, or automatic external defibrillator, a gadget that can jump-start your heart. Tom Whitcomb, at the Red Cross’ Central Iowa chapter, says combined courses are being offered that won’t take much time or money — and could help you save a life.
Whitcomb says the time is basically the length of a televised sporting event, three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half hours, and the cost is a little more than a tank of gas, depending on whether the Red Cross goes to the workplace or if someone comes in to a chapter, somewhere between 30 and 55-dollars. He says heart attacks kill three-to-four people nationwide every minute.
Whitcomb says more than 300-thousand Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest every year, which is more than those killed by: breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS, housefires, traffic accidents and handgun crimes — combined. Even in a rural state like Iowa, he says it’s the agency’s goal to always have A-E-D-trained people nearby. He says the mission is to have someone trained within four minutes distance because for every minute that passes, the person’s chances of survival drop ten-percent — so if five minutes go by and there’s no help, that person’s survival rate is cut in half.
Whitcomb says the A-E-Ds have dropped significantly in price and size. They’re now running about 15-hundred dollars and are about the size of a shoebox. For information on getting trained, contact your nearest Red Cross office.