While the equipment is not needed every day, it is essential to have on hand since more than half of all calls handled by most departments are now medical related.
However, the cost of purchasing new AEDs as they become outdated is prohibitive, especially for volunteer organizations operating on shoestring budgets.
The Walker Area Community Foundation recently awarded a grant to the Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System that will provide 18 AEDs to departments in the county.
Joe Acker, executive director of BREMSS, said Tuesday that $18,000 of the $20,000 received from WACF was designated for the purchase of Zoll’s AED Plus. The AEDs are valued at $999 each.
“We got the best at the cheapest, and it gave us the ability to do a lot more with the grant funds than we really anticipated,” Acker said during the bimonthly meeting of Walker County’s Emergency Medical Service Council.
“It is also an example of everybody looking at the big picture and saying, ‘Who has the most need?’ This group made that decision when they said, ‘BREMSS, go after the money.’”
The EMS Council has $2,000 that remains to be spent and will be acquiring a 19th AED through a federal grant.
Terry McCullar, president of the Walker County Fire Fighters Association, said the goal is to eventually get each of the 26 fire departments in the county a new AED.
“This is going to greatly impact these departments and help us provide better service to the community,” McCullar said.