In May, Athens firefighters used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to perform life-saving measures on a woman who became unresponsive while at work and had no pulse.
Athens Fire Engine 1 C-Shift shocked her twice with an AED and restored her pulse, and then Athens EMS took over her care and transport. Athens Fire has received reports the patient is recovering.
Unfortunately, the AEDs Athens Fire and Rescue are using are at the end of their warranty dates, which means the company that supplied them cannot guarantee their effectiveness.
Members of the Limestone County legislative delegation presented a $15,131.67 community grant to Athens Fire on Tuesday to purchase new AED equipment. The eight members are Rep. Danny Crawford, Sen. Tom Butler, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Sen. Tim Melson, Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Parker Moore, Rep. Andy Whitt and Rep. Lynn Greer.
Athens Fire Chief Al Hogan said the funding will purchase seven packages and cases, 10 pediatric pads and six adult electrodes. Hogan, members of the department and Mayor Ronnie Marks thanked the legislators for supporting Athens Fire’s efforts to serve the community.
“Whenever we reach out to our legislative delegation, they try to support our needs,” Marks said. “This grant ensures our firefighters have the AEDs they need to respond to medical emergencies such as the one that occurred in May. We appreciate our legislators seeing the importance of these devices.”
Crawford, who lives in Athens, and Butler worked with the delegation to seek support from each member. Butler knows firsthand the importance of AEDs. He said 29 years ago the fire chief in Madison requested funds for an AED. Eight days after the firefighters trained on its use, Madison responded to a call of an unresponsive patient. Butler was that patient, becoming the first patient to undergo use of the AED.
“I have supported AEDs statewide because I know they save lives,” he said.
— Holly Hollman contributed to this article.