Hospital, Bank Donate $25K Worth Of Automatic Defibrillators To City

April 5, 2005 – Posted 4:35 p.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- When it comes to saving a life, every minute counts. Law enforcement officers in Poplar Bluff are learning how to respond more quickly when a person is in cardiac arrest.

"We may get a call of a person down, it may take us 15 minutes to get to the scene," said instructor Gary Miriani of the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

Miriani is part of a crew of emergency medical technicians and doctors teaching the entire Poplar Bluff Police Department automatic defibrillator training.

"They can deploy these in the filed, put them to immediate use. I can see where it's definitely going to make a difference," said Assistant Police Chief Gary Pride of the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

But it was just another day of learning to save lives for Poplar Bluff law enforcement.

"The earlier you do CPR, the faster you can bring someone back," said Miriani, "You are looking at a survival rate of about 15-20%. With an AED applied, it jumps up to about 60%."

"Statistics are showing that immediate defibrillation can save 90% of the victims and with our patrol units already zoned by the city, when a call comes in or maybe they get flagged down by a citizen, they're available usually within a minute or two," said Pride.

And it's all made possible because of local generosity.  The city of Poplar Bluff received 12 new units.

"This is all made possible because of the significant donation of $25,000 that was brought about by First Community Bank and the Poplar Bluff Medical Center," said Pride, "We'd be hard pressed to find that money to purchase these units."

And it's equipment well worth its cost.

"The machine won't shock a person that's got a pulse and it won't shock a person who's in what we call a flat line. It's got to have some type of activity there," said Miriani.

"These units are very durable, so they will hold up well in the everyday use of the patrol and fire department, they are also easy to use," said Pride.

The Fire Department received three automatic defibrillators and will also train on the equipment later this month.