PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Pelham Fire Department hopes to add more devices around town that could help save lives. They’re working on a plan to install automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public buildings and other locations.
Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt says the city has a small program for public access AEDs, but they need to expand. The city needs to replace older units and add them in more places.
“The need is there, the data is there that supports the quick access to AEDs,” Honeycutt said. “And our department is very passionate about that and implementing a program.”
AEDs can help save lives when available in public places because anyone with the proper training can use them on a person in an emergency situation. Honeycutt says if the program is implemented the fire department will offer regular training courses to the public. And they want to put the devices in public buildings like city hall and the police department, along with the city park, the Pelham Golf Course, the tennis center and the racquet club. They also plan to have one in each of the police department’s squad cars.
“Anywhere that we have any type of public gathering or the public is going to be in and out of, we just feel like it’s just imperative that we have those to where they can be applied to the patient as quickly as possible,” he said.
Honeycutt credits new EMS director Matt Maples with creating the plan. He took over the position about a year ago and began looking at the city’s existing AEDs. That’s when he started doing more research about them.
“We realized very quickly that we simply don’t have enough,” Honeycutt said. “And we knew that some of those were beginning to age out, and they were at a point where they need to be replaced.”
Honeycutt says it would cost about $35,000 to $40,000 to implement the program. Fire department leaders have presented information to the Pelham city council, and Honeycutt says they’ve been supportive. They’ll have more discussions about it, and he hopes they’ll be able to implement the program by October.