Teaming Up to Save Lives

A couple of organizations are teaming up in a life-saving effort to make sure automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are available where they may be needed.

An AED is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

According to Cardiac Crusade, they have teamed up with the Rotary Club of Salina to identify and register AED locations in the areas in and around the Central Kansas area. This initiative is aimed at saving lives by providing EMS/911 systems, and the general public, instant access to AED locations in case of sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Crusade (co-founded by Salina native Julie Ott Coon), in partnership with PulsePoint, is providing free access to 911 systems to a map of verified AEDs located closest to a sudden cardiac victim. This enables 911 operators to direct bystander rescuers to those locations during an emergency. The Rotary Club of Salina Kansas is excited to be a part of this mission to make Salina a heart-safe community.

“Rotary’s mission is to make a difference in our community and around the world. Joining Cardiac Crusade to identify and register AED locations in our area is an opportunity for us to make a meaningful impact in our community by helping to save lives IN our community,” said Rotary Club President, Sean O. Ryan.

The Rotary Club of Salina Kansas will work with Cardiac Crusade to identify and register AED locations, making those locations available to local EMS/911 systems.

“We are excited to have the Rotary Club of Salina, Kansas join us on this mission to save lives. Their partnership with us will go a long way in identifying and registering more AED locations in Salina and the surrounding area. We encourage volunteers to come forward and help us identify more locations,” said Julie Ott Coon, co-founder of Cardiac Crusade. “And this is especially important to me since I grew up in Salina, graduating from Salina Central in 1985”.

Some cities estimate that only 10% of the available AEDs are identified and registered, leaving the remaining 90% locations unknown and unavailable when rescuers need to locate them quickly. This is where local volunteer groups can play a critical role by identifying and registering AED locations. Cardiac Crusade’s group of volunteers have set a goal to raise the number of registered AEDs to as close to 100% as possible, with every percentage raised saving more lives.

Cardiac Crusade’s website offers a 20-minute online training course that teaches how to identify and register AED locations. This training is available to anyone who wants to volunteer and help save lives.

The initiative is currently in Phase 1: Identifying and Registering AED locations, and making those locations available to EMS/911 systems. Phase 2 goal is getting AED locations searchable natively on your phone via Google Maps and Apple Maps, while Phase 3 is to go global.

Julie Ott Coon, a graduate from Salina Central High School, is part of the 10% club, those that survive a sudden cardiac arrest. In 2018, Julie suffered a sudden cardiac arrest near her home in Plano, Texas. Fortunately, bystanders quickly administered CPR and a nearby AED was used to restart her heart.

Her near-death experience inspired Julie and her husband Greg to start Cardiac Crusade, a non-profit organization that works to identify and register AED locations, making them instantly accessible to EMS/911 systems and soon natively to your smart phones.

Julie shares her story through public speaking engagements, including a TED Talk, to help raise awareness about the importance of AEDs and how they can save lives in emergencies.

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Photo via Julie Ott Coon