Public gains more access to a lifesaving device

Amy Carey, left, and Susan Ushakoff, owners of Quincy Provisions, home to Carey Candy Co. and Bell Lane Baked Goods, hold an automatic external defibrillator that has found a permanent home in their store. Sam Blesse and Matt Brown, far right, both members of Care Flight Ground operations, are on a Heart Safe mission to ensure that the public has access to these life-saving devices. Photos by Debra Moore

From schools to coffee houses, Quincy residents and visitors to the county seat can now access more lifesaving devices known as automatic external defibrillators.

Thanks to Care Flight Ground, based at Plumas District Hospital, there is now a new defibrillator installed at Plumas Charter School’s Quincy campus and one at Quincy Provisions, also known as Carey Candy Co. and Bell Lane Baked Goods.

The latter was important to Care Flight because the coffee house is open seven days a week and is accessible to downtown Quincy.

The defibrillator located at the coffee house is fully automatic and verbally walks the user through its use.

Amy Carey, whose husband Frank Carey serves on the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department, knows the value of having quick access to an AED.

“We’re open consistently seven days a week so it made sense for us to do this,” Carey said. “We can help anyone on Main Street and we want to get the word out, that there is one available here.”

According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year and it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age.

An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background.

Time is of the essence. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10 percent.

Matt Brown and Sam Blesse, both with Care Flight Ground, are keenly aware of this and said another AED will soon be installed at the other end of downtown, at Plumas Bank. The bank is also installing one at its administration building, which is in close proximity to Plumas Christian School, ensuring that all of Quincy’s campuses have access to AEDs.

The model at Carey Candy Co. is fully automatic and an alarm sounds when it is removed from its housing. The AED will then walk the user through the steps necessary to restart someone’s heart.

How do you know when to use it? You don’t; the device does. The device analyzes the heart’s rhythm and will determine if a shock is required.

“It’s designed for people with zero training,” Brown said.

According to Brown, there’s also zero liability for those who use it. It falls under the Good Samaritan law. Brown said that businesses had been reluctant to install the devices for fear that they would be held responsible, but emphasized that there is no liability. Devices must be maintained in good working order and Care Flight Ground is assuming responsibility for ensuring that they are properly maintained.

Patrick Joseph, left, is the K-12 site director for Plumas Charter School. He displays the new automatic external defibrillator that is now on the school’s Quincy campus. Shown with Joseph, are Sam Blesse, center, and Matt Brown, representing Care Flight Ground. Care Flight provided the equipment and will maintain it.

Patrick Joseph, an administrator for Plumas Charter School, said that his staff attended a CPR and AED training class last October and is pleased to have the device available. “There are between 180 and 190 Charter students here, as well as members of the PUSD day school and two kindergartens,” he said. “That’s a lot of children.”

The devices come with two sets of pads — one for children and one for adults.

While Care Flight purchased the AEDS for the candy store and schools, Plumas Bank is purchasing its own devices. Sav Mor in East Quincy has also purchased its own AED, which is located in the front of the store.

Blesse and Brown are working with Safeway to install one there as well. It’s a desirable location because of its extended hours of operation, which at times is 24/7.

There are several more AEDS throughout town. (See sidebar for exact locations.)

The effort to blanket the town with AEDs is all part of establishing Quincy as a Heart Safe community. To receive the designation, many criteria must be met. Quincy would be the first rural area in Northern California to receive the designation, and there’s hope to expand it throughout the county.

Public access AEDs

Schools:

Quincy High School – Upper gym wall

Quincy Elementary School – Main hallway near office

Quincy Charter School Office

Feather River College

1. Administration building

2. Gym – Main entrance

East Quincy:

Save Mor – On wall near main exit

Public Works Building – On wall to right of main entrance

Quincy Pool – Pool office

Fairgrounds

1. Front office

2. Mineral building

Quincy:

Veterans Hall – Inside the main entrance on the wall

Carey Candy Co.

Plumas County Courthouse

Building Department – On wall near counter

Quincy Athletic Club – On wall near counter

Annex

1. Second Floor near Public Health

2. First floor behind Security