From left, lead paramedic Chris Tumblin with WhidbeyHealth-EMS, Mike Dessert and Dale Folkestad of Coupeville Festival Association, Deputy Marshal Leif Haugen of the Coupeville Marshal’s Office and Deputy Chief Charlie Smith of Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue stand by one of three AEDs installed around town. Photo provided

AED installations aid in community preparedness

Citizens in Coupeville are more prepared in the event of a cardiac emergency these days with the installation of three new AEDs around town.

AEDs, automatic external defibrillators, are used in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest and were used twice in the last year to save someone whose heart had stopped.

“This is a great reaction and move by our community to be ready for a (sudden cardiac arrest) event, by placing AEDs that are accessible to the public 24-7,” said Deputy Chief Charlie Smith with Central Whidbey Fire.

“Hopefully this is just the beginning.”

These defibrillators are installed in highly visible and highly accessible locations. The bright red boxes are in the shape of a heart and clearly say “AED” on them.

Two have been located on Front Street at Knead and Feed and at the Port of Coupeville’s office/Collections building. The third AED is located at the entry to the Red Apple Market.

These AEDs were purchased by the Coupeville Festival Association prior to this year’s festival at a cost of about $1,300 each.

The Town of Coupeville is handling care and maintenance of the devices.

In addition to the installation of the devices, Central Whidbey Fire, WhidbeyHealth and the Coupeville Marshal’s Office have trained nearly 100 members and leaders of the community on hands-only CPR and AED awareness.

The increase in training became a priority, especially with the downtown business community, after one of their own had a cardiac event last year and was saved by an AED, said Vickie Chambers, executive director of the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association.

Larry Vail, owner of Vail Wine Shop, was working on his building Nov. 3, 2016, when he suffered a cardiac event and fell from scaffolding.

Then Coupeville Marshal’s Office Deputy Bo Miller arrived on scene within one minute of the call and began CPR and used a defibrillator he carries in his vehicle.

Roughly six months after Vail’s incident, a woman dropping off her child at Coupeville Elementary School suffered a seizure and became unresponsive.

An AED that was installed eight years prior as part of an Eagle Scout project, aided in saving her life.

“We hope to see more public access AEDs in the future as we work collectively to make a mounted AED cabinet as common to our community as seeing a mounted fire extinguisher,” Smith said.