Pictured (left to right): Marlana Solgot, RT (R), Cardiac Cath Lab; Evelyn Chappelear, cardiac patient; Polly Pletcher, gym owner and Des Belcher, RN – STEMI Coordinator, Community Heart Watch Member
New Dimensions Tan & Gym in Perry County is the most recent recipient of an AED donation from Community Heart Watch, a local committee of healthcare, school and EMS officials whose mission is to improve cardiac arrest survival rates in Fairfield, Hocking and Perry counties.
The AED donation comes one month after Fairfield Medical Center employee Marlana Solgot saved the life of her neighbor, Evelyn Chappelear, when Evelyn experienced a cardiac emergency at her Perry County home. When Marlana learned that the gym where Evelyn frequently works out did not have an AED on site, she reached out to Community Heart Watch for help. Through its Community AED program, which has placed more than 400 of the life-saving devices in community areas or public places, Community Heart Watch was able to donate an AED to Polly Pletcher, owner of New Dimensions Tan & Fitness.
“Polly gratefully accepted the AED, saying she had several members who have cardiac stents,” said Des Belcher, who is the STEMI coordinator for FMC and a member of Community Heart Watch. “We also learned that Polly had performed CPR on someone about two years ago at the establishment.”
The AED is one of many that Community Heart Watch has placed throughout Perry County, where EMS response times can be longer due to greater distances of travel and strained EMS resources. While the average survival rate from cardiac arrest is less than 10%, that number can be as high as 80% if bystanders start CPR and use an AED while waiting for EMS to arrive.
In addition to expanding access to AEDs in the community, Community Heart Watch is dedicated to training the lay public to start chest compressions and use an AED while waiting for EMS to arrive on scene. Community Heart Watch oversees three accreditation programs – Heart Safe School, Heart Safe Business and Heart Safe Parks – to expand AED access and knowledge of CPR. To learn more about Community Heart Watch, contact Teri Watson, FMC community outreach coordinator, at email@example.com.