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Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 356,000 cases occur outside hospital walls each year. About 90 percent of victims die before they reach a hospital, making rapid response essential. Survival rates increase dramatically when care, including CPR and treatment with an automated external defibrillator (AED), is provided within five to seven minutes.

To help improve survival rates, Volusia County’s Public Protection Department is using grant funds to donate 19 portable AEDs to community organizations. So far, the department has provided AEDs and training to the DeLand Elks Lodge, Four Townes Moose Lodge, the Spruce Creek Fly-In, and Burns Science and Technology Charter School.

Mark Swanson, interim director of Public Protection, noted that AEDs are designed so people with little or no training can use them. Once activated, an AED will play instructions out loud for how to use it. However, Swanson’s staff is providing on-site, detailed training to staff at each location.

The cost of an AED ranges from $1,300 to $1,700. The Public Protection Department received grants from the Florida Department of Health and Emergency Medical Services Trust Funds to cover the equipment costs.

Swanson and his team will research cardiac arrest data and coordinate with the Community Services Department to determine appropriate locations for additional AEDs in Volusia County.

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— Compiled by Business Editor Joe Crews

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