Leghorns Park ‘rescue ready’ thanks to new AED station

Should cardiac arrest occur, the newly installed automated external defibrillator, or AED, could save a life.|

Last summer, a specially installed and publicly accessible automated external defibrillator – better known as an AED – saved a 16-year-old boy’s life in Sonoma.

This summer, one of the very same devices could save someone’s life at Leghorns Park.

Tami Bender, who runs Healthy Petaluma’s HeartSafe Community Program – the driving force behind the effort – said having a new AED station in place at Leghorns was “a tremendous feeling.”

“This AED and its accessibility to the public is the first of its kind in Petaluma,” she said in a news release. “Cardiac events can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time, and we have seen through our AED and CPR training program that lives are being saved by AEDs in our community.”

Healthy Petaluma joined city officials as well as representatives of Petaluma Rotary, Petaluma Valley Rotary and Petaluma Sunrise Rotary – which paid for the new AED station – and others for an unveiling event at Leghorns on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Together, they declared Leghorns Park to be “rescue ready.”

AEDs are used to restart a heart in case of cardiac arrest. Such moments can be more likely on courts and playing fields where heart rates are high – so if someone were to dial 911 from Leghorns Park, and tell the dispatcher a person is having a cardiac emergency, the dispatcher can now direct them straight to the nearby AED station.

Healthy Petaluma said the AED station “includes a fan, heater, alarm and security feature that captures a photo once the cabinet is opened to deter theft or vandalism.”

Kristy Brindly, a Sonoma woman whose 16-year-old son died of cardiac arrest while playing sports in 2016, was the person who organized installation of an AED station at Sonoma Valley High School – and six years later it saved the life of a boy who needed it.

“Just to have it be a young man who was playing basketball,” Brindley said last year of the boy who was saved. “My son was playing basketball.”

Brindley, whose Just1Mike Foundation promotes awareness and prevention of sudden cardiac death, also attended the Aug. 22 unveiling at Leghorns, speaking to the importance of AED accessibility and their ability to save young lives.

For more information on CPR or AED trainings, go to healthypetaluma.org/heartsafe-community.

Don Frances is editor of the Petaluma Argus-Courier. Reach him at don.frances@arguscourier.com.

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