Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District (EPRFPD) has spearheaded a new community initiative, with Chief Bob Frank at the helm of the project, which aims to get portable Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, installed in area businesses.
Chief Frank spoke about the idea’s conception after he and Captain Elaine Frank had discovered a quantity of AEDs available through government surplus.
“We drove up to Oregon to pick up the units, which are the latest model of Zoll AED,” Frank explained. “We started by equipping all of our trucks and stations, so every single Eastern Plumas fire vehicle and station has an AED in it.”
Frank decided that he wanted to go further with the excess AEDs and came up with a plan. For a sponsorship of $200 a year, local businesses have the opportunity to host an AED on site to provide an option for the public in the event of a cardiac emergency. Six months into the project, AEDs are making their way out into the community.
“I’m hoping to place a minimum of 12 units in the city of Portola,” Frank said. Thus far, J and J Grizzly Store and Campground is sponsoring a unit, as well as K&S gas station in Portola. Gold Mountain also plans on sponsoring two, and Nakoma has one, which will be maintained by Eastern Plumas.
The $200 sponsorship fee includes the AED, wall hanging store unit, and all maintenance of the device.
“Sponsoring an AED really makes this a worry-free thing for business owners,” Frank said. “We go in every three months and do a check on the AED; we replace the pads every two years, maintain the equipment, check batteries and replace them annually.”
With each unit costing close to $2,000 each and a price tag of $100 for each set of defibrillator pads, Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District is not looking to make a profit from this community outreach.
“What is a life worth?” Frank remarked. “This is all worth it if it saves one life, and with these units, the public could possibly save a life. We are just continuing to do our best to serve our community and the people in it.”
The sponsorship goes beyond the AED unit and unit maintenance. Frank noted that for businesses that sponsor an AED, an advanced EMT will schedule a visit to the business and give free instruction on the use of an AED, as well as basic CPR.
The city of Portola has an AED at the city pool, as well as one at City Hall, and a unit has been loaned to the Sierra Valley Fire Department as well. Another AED has also been placed with the Beckwourth Fire Department for the command vehicle, according to Frank.
“This is a good device, and if someone were to collapse in a business, using one of these can potentially save a life,” Frank said. “You hope to never have to use one, but it is good to have in our community. This is one more thing that Eastern Plumas can do for the citizens of Portola and the areas surrounding the city.”
For those interested in more information about AED sponsorship, contact Chief Bob Frank at 228-2223.