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November 26, 2013

Beaumont Health System donates AED to city of Berkley

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
From left, senior coordinator Sue Thornton, Lathrup Village resident Patti Larson and Berkley resident Lillian Burkes stand near the new automated external defibrillator donated to the Berkley Community Center by Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak.

BERKLEY — Thanks to Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, the Berkley Community Center and Senior Center will be a little safer for residents.

The Berkley City Council unanimously approved a gift of an automated external defibrillator from Beaumont Health System during the Nov. 18 meeting. The machine will be housed in a closed cabinet in the community center, which also doubles as the senior center.

“What we do here, we have a very active senior program, and there are seniors in the building often,” said Tom Colwell, director of the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department. “We have a lot of active classes, as well, with young kids, and you see often about high school kids who pass out during football practice. It is the nature of athletic programs, and we need to be prepared for all situations.”

City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa said Beaumont approached her about receiving the AED for their community center. Bais-DiSessa said Beaumont officials wanted to place the AED closer to the senior center, which was on par with what the city was looking for.

“We always want to make sure, in the event of an emergency, that we are prepared and can assist in any way,” she said. “If there is a potentially life-saving incident, and we can help save a life, it is worth it and that is really the primary reason for accepting this gift. This provides convenient safety and assistance for the residents who come to our center.

“We are very appreciative of Beaumont, and we cannot thank them enough.”

Colwell said Berkley has an AED at the Berkley Ice Arena, but they did not have one for the community center. With the cost of a new AED running around $1,600, Colwell said they were trying to work it into the budget when Beaumont approached them.

“We are going to put it in our main senior center room, and hopefully, it collects dust and we never have to use it,” Colwell joked. “It is certainly nice knowing it is there in case of an emergency and that we can take care of our residents as best as we possibly can. The AED is proven to have helped save lives, and we are very fortunate to have this relationship with Beaumont and we are very grateful they stepped up.”

In the next couple of weeks, Colwell said the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department would work with Beaumont, as well as Alliance Mobile Health, to get staff members trained on using the AED.

Colwell said one of the perks of the machine is, from start to finish, the machine helps instruct the user on what to do.

“We obviously need to educate staff on how to use the device, but from the time you turn the machine on, it tells you exactly what you need to do,” he said. “We are able to run through a test mode so everyone has an opportunity to hear it and it tells you where to put the pads and it goes as far as to read the person and decide whether or not a charge is necessary. It can decipher a heart rate and let you know if a charge needs to be sent or not.”

However, Colwell said, there are no plans right now to train any residents or groups on how to use the AED machine, though it may be something the department looks into down the road.

Part of the reason for that decision, he said, is the AED machine Berkley received is the same model the Berkley Public Safety Department uses in all of their vehicles.

“I believe education is a powerful thing, and the more people you have knowing how to use the machine, the better you are, but our focus is to make sure the staff we have on site are all trained,” Colwell said. “It may not be a bad idea to have members from the large groups that use the center be trained as a back-up plan, but our public safety officers and Alliance Mobile Health all have the same machine.

“Anyone that comes in to help a resident in need from our staff up to the police and ambulance crew, they all will have been trained on the same machine.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.