Visitors to Peace Lutheran Church, Hollister, Mo., ask, "Is that an AED sitting on the shelf?" says Sue Bachal. The Peace member gladly tells them that it is, indeed, an automated external defibrillator and that the congregation raised $2,300 in less than a year to buy the life-saving device. The women's group held a soup-and-pie supper, auction and garage sale to raise funds. "It makes an impression on [visitors]," she says, explaining that Peace is near Branson, an area popular with retirees, so many members and visitors are elderly.
The portable defibrillator can boost survival chances when it's used to deliver an electric current to a person with an irregular heartbeat. "To save a victim, you have to give a shock within four to six minutes," reports Ross Worch, pastor of Peace when the congregation bought the device last year.
Sixteen members trained for seven hours to be CPR-certified and learn to use the defibrillator. "We're glad we've got it to help someone," Bachal says. "And glad we haven't had to use it yet."
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