HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (WTOC) - A Lowcountry city is taking steps to make sure all first responders have the right tools to save lives - specifically when it comes to heart attacks.
The Arrythmia Alliance presented AED’s to the City of Hardeeville at a City Council meeting in early July. Automated external defibrillators are devices that deliver an electric shock to the heart to save a person having a cardiac emergency.
The City of Hardeeville is working to make sure that all their first responder vehicles have AED’s in them, but it’s not just first responders. Even city vehicles will have AED machines as well.
“There are 30,000 people a day going through Hardeeville off Argent Boulevard, and 60,000 people a day going past our two exits on I-95. Every one of those roads is patrolled by our police department. If there is an incident, they will be right there," said Mayor Harry Williams, City of Hardeeville.
It’s a $30,000 investment they hope they never have to use.
“Most of the time, we’re usually on the scene before EMS gets there. Our job is to save lives, and we feel like with the help of these devices, it will help save lives, and that’s the most important thing," said Chief Sam Woodward, Hardeeville Police.
Half of the Hardeeville police cars have AED units. According to Mayor Williams, a final purchase will be made soon so that every emergency vehicle in Hardeeville will have them.
“You don’t ever know when a heart attack is going to strike, that’s the thing. If we all had a crystal ball and could understand when we were going to have a heart attack, we’d all be at the doctor’s office waiting on that. We can’t do that, so again, these devices help save lives. We’ve seen that here in our family, right here in the Hardeeville government," Chief Woodward said.
“I had an incident on a softball field where I actually fell down and - and died. I was revived by an AED machine. CPR was not enough to revive my heart," Mayor Williams said.
Mayor Williams says he views his second chance at life as an opportunity to help others, which he thinks his role in the purchase of these machines does. While police haven’t had to use them so far in three years, they say it’s worth the investment.
Chief Woodward says while all the city employees and first responders will be trained to use the AED’s, they want to eventually invite the public to come to those training sessions as well.