The Portneuf Medical Center presented School District 25 with 17 new automatic external defibrillators Tuesday night.
These life-saving devices have now made their way into every Pocatello school after the PMC donated these AEDs with some help from an anonymous source.
Tyhee Elementary School Principal Jim Denton said this is a critical resource every school should have.
“It's something that can truly save somebody's life,” Denton said. “I just think it's an incredible project.”
Karen Ruchti has been volunteering with the hospital for more than 47 years and helped head the project to get these AEDs in schools by fundraising enough money to support the cause.
“You just never know and it would be good to have them because if it could save one life, they're worth having,” Ruchti said.
Ruchti said her inspiration behind starting this project was the incident that happened in American Falls, where a boy's football coach saved his life by properly using an AED on him after he collapsed on the field. That incident, along with her many grandchildren.
“I would hope that if anything ever happened to any of my grandchildren, there would be a defibrillator there if they needed it,” Ruchti said.
But the focus is not just on the kids.
Denton recounted a time where he had to use the defibrillator twice at the elementary school he formerly worked at in the state of Washington. The first time was when a teacher had collapsed from a heart attack.
“And the second time was an auto accident when a man had a heart attack right in front of the school driving his car,” Denton said.
Emergency responders say an average of 1,000 heart attacks occur daily nationwide. However, only 10 percent of victims survive.
“Here in Pocatello over the past two years our ambulance agencies have actually been able to save 43-percent,” Bannock County EMS Medical Director Curtis Sandy said. “So, we're actually pushing some of the nation's highest numbers.”
Sandy also said there is a push to get these AEDs in almost every city building including large businesses and even the Pocatello City Hall building.
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