Thursday, January 16, 2003

Donation puts defibrillator in use

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

GREENHILLS - When Greenhills Police Sgt. Matt Johnson first heard that a donation had been made to help buy two automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for the police department, he was curious as to the amount.

But he was stunned to learn that a 60-year Greenhills resident had agreed to cover the entire $2,300 cost of one of the units. The resident, Frank M. Yost, is a retired Greenhills assistant fire chief.

"I've been trying to find a way to get the program in place for about a year and a half," Sgt. Johnson said. "He wrote a check and took care of the first one. We'd like to have two. They'll go on patrol with duty officers in the patrol cars."

The easy-to-use defibrillator can restore a normal heart rhythm in people who suffer cardiac arrest. Eventually, all Greenhills officers will be trained to use and carry the units. Sgt. Johnson hopes to have all officers complete the four-hour training by March 1.

Frank Yost's son, Phil Yost, a resident and a Greenhills firefighter/EMT, set up a fund drive to buy the units. Phil Yost is also an AED instructor, and is donating his time to train the officers to use the equipment.

"We put the new AED in service (last week)," Phil Yost said. "I trained several police officers and they started carrying it."

Through his son, Frank Yost declined to comment on his donation.

Still, Sgt. Johnson spoke volumes about the Yosts' contributions.

"(They're) looking out for about 5,000 other residents," Sgt. Johnson said. "It's one of the those deals where (two men) truly can make a difference."

The Greenhills AED can address three types of irregular heart rhythms, covering about 95 percent of cardiac cases, Phil Yost said. And unlike some AEDs, it can function in a moving ambulance.

AEDs are designed for users with minimal training and give step-by-step instructions via simple voice prompts. They have become popular in public places.

Greenhills joins about a half-dozen Hamilton County suburban police departments that carry the devices in police cruisers, including Amberley Village, Blue Ash, Deer Park, Harrison and Glendale.

Some school districts are also placing AEDs in their buildings and training school personnel.

Though emergency medical services carry AEDs on ambulances, police officers are often the first people to arrive at emergency medical calls, Sgt. Johnson said.

Getting defibrillation to cardiac patients quickly is key to their survival, officials say. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by 10 percent.

Donations for the second AED can be made to the AED Fund at Greenhills Credit Union, 3 Enfield St., Cincinnati, 45218.


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