FULTON – Callaway County EMS donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to St. Peter Catholic Church and School as part of its public access AED program.
School principal Teri Arms said in recent years there's been a need for the AED.
"We've had a couple of instances of older parishioners at church having issues and it prompted the health parishioner here to contact the ambulance district," said Arms.
The device analyzes the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to help re-establish a heart rhythm.
They're most commonly used when someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Red Cross, cardiac arrest is one the leading causes of death.
For each minute that defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival for a person decreases by 10 percent.
With a lot of activities going on at the school, the parish approved the school purchasing a second AED to have in the building.
Over the next few months, the school plans to provide training sessions for parishioners, church members and students. Arms said they may even train young students.
"I've seen students as young as eight be trained, so I think we could go down to the third and fourth grades and have responsible students learn to be aware to help in times of need."
According to Callaway County Training Officer Kelly Drennan, all of the schools in the county have at least one AED.
She said time is of the essence during an emergencies.
"The AED should be used in any sudden cardiac arrest whether it be in the mall or the grocery store. The shock is a good intervention but it needs to be done as quickly as possible."
Arms said she hopes the AED makes a difference.
"We've got infants and we've got elderly parishioners here," said Arms. "Heart conditions and heart disease is not something that chooses an age so we're here and hopefully this will help in any situation that we would need it."