As of: April 10, 2016
One of the important things that we failed to think of was "Making new residents aware of the WCBM AED Program." So here's a short synopsis. Back in 2013, there were many articles floating around the internet talking about how important AEDs (Automatic External Defibulators) were. They were complex pieces of equipment that allowed minimumly trained people (like you and me) to safely administer the pads and give shocks to people that had just suffered a heart attack (we would later find out that the correct term was SCA or Sudden Cardiac Arrest).
Anyway, we found that there were already pilot groups operating in the Villages, all under the watchful eye of the local Fire Department and Captain Gail Lazenby (now retired). After contacting him, we found that the pilot groups had raised money to buy their own AEDs which were located at strategic locations in their neighborhoods (usually one to four streets). So you can see that a village like Bonita could have many, many small groups of trained "responders." Capt. Lazenby was the training facilitator for the Fire Department and said that when groups organized under his watchful eye, then the AED and CPR training would be free. And that training was not just for those that volunteered to be "1st Responders", but for any resident of that community.
We formed the WCBM (Witherspoon/Centerville/Bucksport/McDuffie) and called it WAPO (WCBM AED Program Organization). We asked everyone for donations and help to raise other money to buy and maintain two AEDs. We also knew we'd have to purchase batteries every four years and that there was a company (Ready Alert) that handled the notification of 1st Responders. All-in-all, we knew we'd need $3,000 to $5,000 to get started. We put out the word about donations, telling everyone that they were totally voluntary. No pressure. In fact, donate or not, if we were notified of an SCA, we would respond. The donations came pouring in. We also held a neighborhood garage sale and raised over $600. Not to be beaten, several neighborhood ladies decided to publish a neighborhood cookbook. It was a great success and raised well over $1,000.
We opened a bank account, bought two AEDs, the hardware to install them, and became WAPO back in 2013. And to date, we haven't had to respond to any (not one) SCA alert. Isn't that great news. So we're always on the lookout for anyone who thinks they would like to volunteer their time and become one of our neighborhood 1st responders. All it takes is (1) training and (2) the willingness to help someone who is in desparate need of help. An interesting side note here: The new method of CPR does not require any mouth-to-mouth resusitation effort (in case that's why you won't volunteer). By the way, 1st Responders are neighborhood volunteers that get notified at the same time as the Fire Department. They grab an AED and rush to the home where CPR and the AED are used to keep the victim alive until the Fire Department / Paramedics arrive. It has been shown that this quick response to an emergency has saved countless lives.
So back to our web page:
If you are a resident of our four streets (Witherspoon, Centerville, Bucksport, or McDuffie) in the Village of Bonita and want to get CPR/AED training OR just want to take a refresher class:
1. Select a date and time of a "Community" class that works best for you. Here are the dates in 2015. Note: the "Professional" courses are reserved for those in the medical field and the like. Note: as of April 4th, all the 2015 dates are completed as are the January, February, and March 2016 dates. The Fire Department has not updated their site with April 2016 dates......so we wait.
2. Contact your community AED coordinator (myself, Ross Irlam, or Jerry Tumbush) and tell us which class you want to be in. Training normally costs $25.00 but since we have an AED program, the cost has been waived. Do the math. That means it's FREE!!!
3. Once you have completed the training, you will receive a CPR and AED Certification Card. If you want to become a WAPO 1st Responder, you will need to bring this to me at 1312 Witherspoon in order to get a key to the AED boxes. I will also schedule you for active participation (full time or part time/month-by-month). See how easy that is.
4. I also keep a list of everyone that has taken the training so please, please, please keep me informed if you have taken the course (original or recurring).
Everyone should remember, the most important person in a cardiac incident is the person who performs CPR while waiting for the 1st Responders to arrive. Keeping the blood circulating to the brain can be the best thing to save a person's life. So if you don't know CPR and don't start to perform it immediately, the chances of survival start dropping off. YOU could be the one that saves your spouse's life. So why on earth would you not want to take the training? . . . . Oh, now I see. Sorry.
Remember, if you want to take the CPR/AED class you can see when they are scheduled above or at:
However, they have asked that we schedule all our class requests through our AED Coordinators (myself, Ross Irlam, or Jerry Tumbush).
Remember, you do NOT have to become a 1st Responder just because you take the class. However, it is important that everyone in your household know CPR because that is what is responsible for the biggest portion of saving a life. If you would like to become a 1st Responder in our area, please let me know and bring me your CPR/AED card for verification. You also don't have to be a full time 1st Responder. We have several that are only on call three months at a time. Some are even Snow Birds. However, we would ask that you volunteer to donate monetarily so you have a vested interest in caring for the equipment that the neighborhood has purchased. How much is up to you but many of our 1st Responders (and non-1st Responders) have donated anywhere from $25 to $400.
And we sent in our check to ReadyAlert for another year of services and our next payment should come due again in September, 2016. That is the notification system for the 1st Responders. Each month the system is tested to ensure that our volunteer force is capable of being notified if there is a Cardiac Alert in our neighborhood. As you will see in the ReadyAlert presentation, they will now be holding semi-annual testing to evaluate our readiness (without CPR) then once a year, they will hold a test alerting each 1st Responder and bring a manikin to evaluate the skills of those 1st Responders.
And twice a year, ReadyAlert and the Fire Department hold meetings with all the group "Coordinators". In fact, we just had another one, on March 29, 2016 at Laurel Manor Rec Center. The agenda and slide presentation from ReadyAlert is provided in the following URLs:
The song "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees works well on this page. It was recommended that because of the beat, 1st Responders can perform CPR to its tempo (played or hummed in your head). And the title sure fits the purpose, doesn't it?