Thirteen Nebraska City churches will be receiving  automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid kits courtesy of CHI St. Mary’s with help from a $20,000 grant from Union Pacific Railroad.
An automated external defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
In addition to providing the equipment to the churches, two training sessions were conducted by St. Mary’s nurses Nancy Brown, Ashlee Miller and Mary Johnson (Nebraska City Rescue Squad) to familiarize congregation members with the operation of the Zoll AED Machine.
“St. Mary’s Community Hospital provides meaningful services that positively impact lives,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific senior vice president of Corporate Relations and Union Pacific Foundation President.
“An integral part of Union Pacific’s success is the work we do to enhance the quality of life in the communities where our employees live and work.”
The 13 churches designated to receive the Zoll AED machine, an Adult/Child/Infant CPR masj, Deluxe Emergency Preparedness Kits, Black Buddy H2O, First Aid Kit Plus and Titanium Bonded Bandage Shears are:

First Christian Church Bethel United Church of Christ First Evangelical Lutheran Church St. Mary’s Episcopal Church First Methodist Church St. Mary’s Catholic Church Nebraska City Seventh Day Adventist Church Church of Christ Community of Christ Friends of Faith Thrift Store Calvary Community Church Cornerstone Church

Although it is hoped no one will need to use the Zoll AED machine, research has shown that  early defibrilation combined with CPR can improve survival rates as much as 74 percent when defibrillation occurs within three minutes of collapse. Survival rates decrease between 7 and 10 percent for every minute elapsing between sudden cardiac arrest and defibrilation.
The potential impact of having these machines available in the event of difficult to underestimate in a community where women represent more than 52 percent of the population and nearly 20 percent of the population is age 65 or over. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Further, many seniors, especially those on fixed incomes do not seek medical treatment that could aid with the early detection and successful management of heart disease.