Medstar Ambulance places lifesaving device in city building

Company also offers minigrants to help groups purchase devices

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published February 13, 2014

HARPER WOODS — Automated external defibrillators save lives, which is why Medstar Ambulance, the city’s ambulance service, wants to make sure they’re readily available in public gathering places.

The company has been putting AEDs in different city buildings. The company recently visited the Feb. 3 Harper Woods City Council meeting to present a device that will be placed in the council chambers, which also serve as the district courtroom.

“We believe that public gathering places should all have an AED,” Medstar CEO Kolby Miller said. 

The city does have a defibrillator in the municipal building because the firefighters have advanced life-saving equipment, but this adds another device in a part of the building that has frequent visitors.

“It’s a nice gesture by Medstar,” City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said. “We appreciate it.”

Medstar also is accepting applications for $500 minigrants to help community groups, civic organizations and nonprofit groups be able to purchase their own.

“The AED, combined with early CPR, is the key to survival of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” Miller stated in a press release. “Being able to offer minigrants for purchase of AEDs shows our continued efforts to ensure that individuals will have access to this life-saving tool.

“If more people have access to AEDs and are properly educated on using them and being CPR trained, hopefully, lives will be saved,” he stated. “If this minigrant program helps one person survive, then it is a success.”

Medstar also has placed AEDs in Chesterfield Township, Mount Clemens, Macomb Township and other cities.

“We encourage the use of AEDs in all of our communities,” Miller said.

Mayor Ken Poynter spoke in appreciation of the gesture. His life was saved by the use of an AED when he suffered a heart attack in 2012.

“Having had personal experience with one of these, it’s a good thing to have around,” Poynter said.
Another safety service the company provides is CPR training. It’s planning two separate training events.

“We want to train everyone in the building where the AED is in use, so that there is not a chance of it being needed and not able to be used,” Miller said in an email. “Then, we will host a community CPR day, where we invite everyone who wants to learn in.”

While a date hasn’t been set to host the training in Harper Woods for staff and community members, there’s already some interest.

“I certainly would like to get refreshed in my CPR training,” Council member Vivian Sawicki said.

Skotarczyk said he, too, is looking forward to the training component. He’s had CPR certification for many years, and it’s time for him to train again.

Miller said Medstar is a partner with the communities it services, not just a company providing a contractual service.

“We put a lot of value in the trust that the community provides in us,” he said, adding that their responsibility is not just to show up and do a good job taking care of residents, but to work to make the residents safer.

The deadline to apply for the minigrant is Feb. 28. More information about Medstar can be found at