Carter County, EMS service join forces for life-saving partnership

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Carter County official and a local emergency service have partnered up on a project aimed at helping to save lives.

Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett and the Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad joined forces recently to place two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in county buildings. One of those AED units was placed at the Carter County Election Commission Office and the other unit was placed at the Carter County Highway Department.

After taking office in September, Barnett was surprised to learn that while county offices and operations are spread out in more than a dozen buildings, only two of those buildings had AED units in place — the Courthouse and the Justice Center. Seeing the number of employees and members of the public who visit county offices and facilities, Barnett started working on a project to make more of the units available in case of an emergency.

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“I knew something needed to be done to help protect our employees as well as the citizens we serve,” Barnett said. “My goal is to have an AED in every county building.”

Barnett started his project by reaching out to the Carter County Rescue Squad to get their input. Terry Arnold, director of the Carter County Rescue Squad, and his agency offered to supply two AED units to the county.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Mayor Barnett to help improve emergency medical outcomes in the community,” Arnold said. “We hope there will never be a need to use them, but if that need arises these AEDs could make all the difference for someone.”

When a person experiences a cardiac emergency, early defibrillation with an on-site AED can be the difference between life and death.

According to the American Heart Association, of the more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur in the United States each year, more than 100,000 happen outside the home. Less than half (45.7 percent) of cardiac arrest victims get the immediate help they need before emergency responders arrive.

A study released by the American Heart Association showed that cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly-available AED had a far greater chance of survival than those who did not — 66.5 percent versus 43 percent.

“I want to thank the Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad for partnering with me on this project,” Barnett said. “We are currently working to obtain grant funding to purchase enough AEDs to meet the goal of having one in each county building.”