Heartland Community College Appreciates our Efforts. See below! 

Heartland Community College has a new automated external defibrillator (AED) thanks to a donation from the Illinois Heart & Lung Foundation (IHLF). The defibrillator was delivered on Thursday, June 29 and will be kept in the College’s campus safety and security services vehicle.

Heartland currently has 15 AEDs, two of which are located at the Pontiac and Lincoln campuses. The most recent AED will remain in the security vehicle so first responders can access it easily should they need to respond to a cardiac emergency.

“One of our goals is to get an AED in all first responder vehicles,” said IHLF Executive Director of Continuing Medical Education, Kathi Franklin. “They are the first ones on scene and if they have an AED in addition to administering CPR, a life is even more likely to be saved.”

“We’re incredibly appreciative of receiving an AED from the Illinois Heart & Lung Foundation,” said Kelli Hill, vice president for continuing education and advancement at Heartland. “Hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but we’re grateful our first responders will have one readily available in case we do.”

The IHLF has one fundraiser every year to help station AEDs in the community. So far, the organization has invested more than $200,000 in AED placements and Heartland’s donated defibrillator is one of the latest.

Franklin and the IHLF also donated AEDs for campus emergency vehicles at Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan. Franklin feels college campuses have vulnerable populations and that it’s essential for personnel to have the tools they need to respond and save lives. “Schools are communities within themselves,” she explained. “Each day there are visitors of all ages present. You never know what might happen and this will help schools be prepared.”

Franklin emphasizes that schools aren’t the only ones who should be ready to respond to emergencies. Although a cardiac event can be alarming, she wants people to know that it’s quite simple to restart a heart.

“When someone is having a cardiac emergency, it’s common for bystanders to be fearful of helping. A lot of people think they would do more harm than good, but that’s not the case.”

For AEDs in particular, Franklin describes them as “bystander friendly.” “The device gives audible instructions which makes them very easy to use because it walks you through step by step,” she said.

To help the general public feel more comfortable helping someone in need, Franklin and the IHLF encourage people to download a free app on their smartphone called PulsePoint. The app is a comprehensive registry of AEDs that works with a phone’s GPS to locate the nearest defibrillator.

IHLF also hosts a free community-wide CPR training course at Heartland every year.

Franklin says CPR and an AED need to be used together.

“In the event you encounter someone having a cardiac emergency, someone needs to dial 9-1-1 and locate the nearest AED. Meanwhile, another individual should start administering CPR immediately. This will keep blood around the heart. The AED needs blood in that area in order to work.”

Overall, Franklin emphasizes it’s important to act quickly. “The chance of restarting the heart diminishes quickly with each passing minute. That’s why we want to ensure first responders at schools have easy access to AEDs and that the general public has knowledge and confidence to help save a life.”

To learn more about AEDs and the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation’s upcoming fundraiser, Stayin’ Alive Defibrillator Drive, on August 26, please click here.