The UF Health Chest Pain Center, in coordination with the UF Health PulsePoint task force, has donated a pair of automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, to two organizations in East Gainesville, an area of the city with a significant shortage in the lifesaving devices.
In addition to the AEDs, Alliance Credit Union and the after-school program for at-risk youth Reichert House also received training in how to operate the AEDs and perform CPR. When done hands-only, CPR carries a low risk of transmitting COVID-19, according to emergency medicine physician Torben Becker, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of emergency medicine and an associate medical director for Alachua County Fire Rescue.
“Many more lives would be saved than harmed by continuing to perform bystander CPR, especially if basic safety measures are taken,” Becker said, adding that those performing CPR should wear a mask and cover the mouth and nose of the person receiving CPR with a mask.
Tim Cannon, president and CEO of Alliance Credit Union, said this “generous donation” from UF Health will enhance the health and safety of their employees and customers.
“We are very grateful to UF Health for providing Alliance Credit Union with an AED and CPR training for our staff. Alliance Credit Union strives to offer the best service to the communities of North Central Florida,” Cannon said.
John Alexander, director of Reichert House, said, “We’re very fortunate to receive this AED, as they are very expensive machines. Because of the amount of children who we serve on a daily basis, it’s important to have this equipment on site in case of an emergency, whether it occurs to one of the children, our staff or visitors.”
According to the American Heart Association, an AED should be available within a three-minute radius, and employing the device after someone begins experiencing sudden cardiac arrest can double their survival rate.
In East Gainesville, an area defined as east of Main Street, there are only about a dozen known AEDs available, while 200 machines dot the map of Gainesville west of Main Street. In an effort to correct this disparity and increase bystander CPR rates, the UF Health Chest Pain Center and the UF Health PulsePoint task force applied for grant funding from the UF Medical Guild to provide two East Gainesville entities these lifesaving devices, which can cost up to $2,000. The grant also facilitated 350 free CPR certifications for members of the East Gainesville community.
Alliance Credit Union, 412 E. University Ave., is open to the public Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Reichert House, 1704 SE Second Ave., hosts after-school programming Mondays through Thursdays 2 p.m. through 9 p.m.