Chickasaw County residents in need of emergency medical services will now have access to a lifesaving device

Chickasaw County residents in need of emergency medical services will now have access to a lifesaving device, thanks to a Mississippi State Department of Health initiative that allows purchasing and placement of these devices in rural areas of the state.

The Mississippi State Department of Health initiative, known as the Mississippi Rural AED Program, aims to save lives in rural areas where medical emergency services are needed by the purchase and placement of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Recently health officials placed AEDs in a Chickasaw County School, the Houka Fire Department and the Van Fleet Fire Department.

An AED is a device that automatically analyzes the heart rhythm and advises the responder, through computerized voice instructions, when to push a button to deliver a potentially lifesaving shock to the victim. According to Keith Parker, Director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services with the Mississippi State Department of Health, an AED is instrumental in the event that someone is having a heart attack.

“The AEDs provide earlier access to emergency care across all areas of the state,” said Parker. “First responders in rural areas of the state are often the first to arrive on the scene of a medical emergency, and this new equipment will help them keep victims alive until they can be treated at the hospital.”

He added, “Wherever these AEDs are located, the program provides funding for training so personnel will have a better chance of providing emergency medical services to those suffering from a heart attack.”

Warnings signs of a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association, include chest discomfort; discomfort in other areas of the upper body; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; and breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.

“The cardiac chain of survival is early access to care (911), early CPR, early difribillation and early advanced cardiac life support,” said Parker. “With the placement of AEDs in rural areas throughout the state, cardiac arrest victims will have a better chance of survival.” For more information on this program, the public can call 1-800-489-7670.

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