‘Project Defibrillator Replacement’ funding goal reached
By Laura Berndt
This December, the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office began “Project Defibrillator Replacement” to raise funds to replace nine Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs.) Generous community donations helped the Sheriff’s Office reach the fundraising goal within just a few months.
AEDs are used to restore a normal heart rhythm for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Previously, the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office and Durand Police Department did have AEDs on hand but, that equipment was purchased in 1991, and had reached the end of its projected lifespan.
In 2015 alone, the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office responded to over 403 medical calls, including 162 that were cardiac-related. Often, officers from the Durand Police Department and/or the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office are the first to arrive at the scene.
In November of 2016, an individual went into cardiac arrest in the City of Durand. Doctors say that local officers’ quick response, and their use of an AED, saved his life. This is just one example of the device’s life-saving capability.
With this in mind, the Sheriff’s Office sought to raise funds to replace the old AEDs before they began to fail. In total, the Sheriff’s Office hoped to replace nine AEDs (seven Pepin County Sheriff’s Office AEDs, and two Durand Police Department AEDs.)
Each AED costs approximately $2,429. The purchase of nine AEDs cost approximately $21,861, and the Sheriff’s Office began welcoming donations toward the project in December. The fundraising goal was reached in February.
Pepin County Sheriff Joel Wener and Pepin County Communications Corrections Officer/Project Defibrillator Replacement coordinator Don Sinz agree that they are extremely grateful for the community’s support.
“The response was phenomenal,” said Sinz. “I can’t stress enough how grateful we are to the businesses, organizations, and the general public, for their generous donations. Without them, this would not be possible.”
Sheriff Wener said that the Sheriff’s Office thought that, even if they only received a few donations, maybe they could purchase at least one or two AEDs. They were thrilled, however, when donation after donation began to arrive. The community support, said Wener, “just kept pouring in.”
The nine new AEDs have now been delivered, and the local officers have reliable, functioning equipment on hand once again.