Two Shelby County cities to purchase defibrillators for schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Two Shelby County cities have passed resolutions for the purchase of defibrillators to be placed in their schools and municipal buildings.

The electronic devices, which use electric shock to restore waning heart rhythm, have recently been credited for saving the lives of two Birmingham-area high school students.

The Pelham City Council voted at its regular Feb. 17 meeting to seek bids for the purchase of 10 automatic external defibrillators to be placed in city municipal buildings and educational facilities.

Mayor Bobby Hayes said units will likely be placed at the library, the civic complex, the Racquet Club, the new municipal golf course and each of the city’s four schools.

Defibrillators have been carried on emergency vehicles in Pelham for years but Hayes said the city only recently began considering placement at fixed locations.

Defibrillators were credited for playing major roles in the rescue of collapsed students during recent incidents at Hoover and Mortimer Jordan high schools.

&uot;Our kids and our city hall are not immune from that happening to them,&uot; Hayes said. &uot;We want to be sure that we have (defibrillators) on hand to be sure we can give them immediate help.

&uot;You can’t put a price on those lives,&uot; he said.

Hayes said city officials had already been considering purchasing the equipment before those incidents but said they did influence the council’s timing.

&uot;Certainly that had a bearing on the fact that we should do it now as opposed to later,&uot; Hayes said.

The defibrillators are expected to cost somewhere around $2,400 a piece and will be purchased with money from the city’s general fund.

City officials said multiple employees at each location will be trained to use the equipment.

Hayes said he expects to present bids for the council’s approval by the March 17 regular meeting.

The Chelsea City Council also passed a resolution for the purchase of defibrillators at its Feb. 18 regular meeting.

The Chelsea Council voted to authorize the purchase of seven defibrillators to be placed at schools and public buildings in Chelsea.

&uot;This is going to be some equipment that we have already witnessed these past couple of weeks to be very worthwhile,&uot; said Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven Sr.

Following the council’s vote to seek bids for the equipment, Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley gave a demonstration on how the defibrillators operate.

He said the newest models of defibrillators send a lower voltage shock, resulting in less damage to remaining, healthy heart tissue.

Shirley said Chelsea rescue personnel six months ago, administered shock to a resident six times and &uot;she is still walking around today.&uot;

The defibrillator he demonstrated gives vocal prompts to insure proper use and emits a loud tone when the batteries need to be changed.

&uot;I’ve seen it save lives and I’m a firm believer in the concept,&uot; Shirley said.

Chelsea city officials said they plan to provide training for individuals at each location where a defibrillator is placed.

Shirley mentioned office staff, coaching staff and custodial workers as possible administrators who could be trained to use the equipment at Chelsea’s schools.

&uot;I’m really happy about the whole program,&uot; Shirley said. &uot;I’m happy we are going forward with it.&uot;