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New AED technology offers more cardiac protection in Lee County


Lee County has introduced new automated external defibrillator technology this week that will be available at nearly 200 sites.

Lee County has introduced new automated external defibrillator technology this week that will be available at nearly 200 sites across the county.

The new AED technology was demonstrated recently by the county during the Summer of Safety event at Estero Community Park.

"In the past year, public safety has received 176 drowning and water related emergency calls," said Ben Abes, Lee Emergency Services director. "We've responded to 1,764 cardiac arrest events, and in 926 of those events we have had dispatchers assist callers with providing CPR instructions."

Lee County has deployed 197 of its new AEDs across several county locations including parks and recreation sites, libraries, county administration offices, solid waste facilities, water treatment plants, baseball fields and many more.

Cardiac arrest survival requires quick intervention with the likelihood of survival exponentially increased when a bystander performs CPR or administers an AED on people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Increase of public knowledge will allow for greater survival rates in the county.

"Nationally, there are over 350,000 victims that suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, and these victims require all of us to take quick and decisive action to give them a chance at survival," said Colin Johnson, deputy chief of Lee County Emergency Medical Services. "By doing so, we want to emphasize not only our citizen and bystander CPR, but early AED use."

Johnson said that historically, AED utilization is low because many bystanders do not know where devices are located. Additionally, they are often unaware when emergencies occur nearby.

"This is where our new program partnering with Avive Solutionsbrings the Avive AED, which helps to solve this problem." Johnson said. "The Avive AED along with our partners at our communication center can be dispatched directly to these emergencies. So when a bystander comes across somebody who's suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, the AED can be activated from the dispatch center and be directed right to the scene of that emergency and be provide care."

Johnson said his department has deployed the devices in many county facilities including parks and recreation buildings, stadiums, and other government complexes.

"We're excited to continue these efforts in Lee County and help bring awareness and help save lives," Johnson said.

A recreation department manager recounted how an AED device at one of the county parks in October 2020 helped save a young man who fell ill during a basketball tournament.

" Once the AED administered that shock it reanalyzed this young man, it instructed us to do CPR. Once we were doing the CPR, the AED told us that we were doing the compressions to the proper depth and pace EMS arrived shortly after, when they assessed him," the manager, Trever Snearly, recounted. "They had found he had regained his pulse and was shallowly breathing. It was later discovered that this individual had suffered a cardiac event. And without the use of the AED, his outcome could have been tragically different."

Johnson said the county has also launched a program known as Heart Smart.

"Within that we've partnered with 25 agencies across the community to focus on providing bystander education with CPR and AED use," he said. "And really, it's designed to help individuals recognize when somebody's in need of CPR, and give them the confidence to provide that care. To date, we've trained over 5,000 members of the community and by standard CPR and AED awareness, and our goal continues to be to empower bystanders with the confidence to act during a cardiac emergency."

For more information about Lee County’s Heart Smart campaign, visit to view a video demonstration of how the AEDs work. ,

Copyright 2024 WGCU

WGCU Staff