In, Northeast Florida, a new program allows youth groups and other community organizations to borrow AEDs, provided that someone in charge has CPR certification.
The new program, Borrow an AED Program, was founded by Georgia parents Harold and Becky Cohn. Their 15-year-old son Andrew passed away in 2010 after collapsing during a baseball game.
Had his coaches had access to an AED on the scene, the teen's life could have been saved. When Andrew collapsed, the only available AED was locked in a nearby school.
After their son died, the couple founded the AED Alliance for the purpose of educating the public about the importance of access to AEDs. With this new initiative, they are hoping to expand access to the devices in a tangible way, in hopes that another life could be saved.
Cardiac arrest is the number one sports-related killer of youth younger than age 18. Andrew was perfectly healthy before the blow to the chest that caused him to go into cardiac arrest; the device could also help those who collapse in relation to a previously undiagnosed cardiac condition.
Through the new program, youth organizations, schools, churches, and even individuals will have access to the lifesaving equipment, which at $1,800 is too expensive for many groups to purchase. AEDs will be available in 10 separate locations in Duval, Nassau, Baker, Clay and St. Johns counties, to borrow free of charge.
To be eligible to "check out" an AED, you simply must present a driver's license and a current CPR certification.
Beyond Northeast Florida, the Cohns' goal is to have an AED in every school in the United States by 2017, and to have a similar rental program in every county nationwide.