For the Troy Daily News
MIAMI COUNTY — April 1, 2014, is a day Jim McMaken will never forget. It’s also a day he never wants to repeat.
McMaken, general executive for the Miami County YMCA, went into work on that Saturday to grab a photo of participants in the Tutu Run, which started and ended at the Piqua Branch of the YMCA.
“I no more got the key into my office door and someone came running in and said we had a runner down. I grabbed the AED just in case and yelled at the courtesy desk person to call 911. And we used it,” he said of the AED – an automated external defibrillator, a portable device that diagnoses life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Through defibrillation, application of electrical therapy, stops arrhythmia to allow the heart to reestablish rhythm.
The Miami County YMCA’s AED unit has been put to use six times, McMaken said.
Soon, thanks to grants from the Miami County Foundation, the county’s public libraries also will have AED units on hand in case of emergencies such as the one experienced by the runner at the Piqua YMCA.
According to Cheryl Stiefel-Francis, executive director for the Miami County Foundation, grants will be distributed to libraries in Bradford, Covington, Pleasant Hill, Piqua, Tipp City, Troy and West Milton as part of the foundation’s 30th anniversary celebration.
“We’ve been researching getting one for the library. This will definitely help us speed up that process,” said Rachelle Miller, Troy-Miami County Public Library director.
Jim Oda, library director for Piqua Public Library, agrees.
“This will be a very positive addition to the library,” Oda said. “Something that can save a life is a wonderful thing.”
Oda said all Piqua library staff will receive training on how to use an AED.
The public library “is a place where we get all kinds of people,” said Cherie Roeth, Bradford Public Library director. “People with various health conditions. And with the library located in the center of the community, it will be a benefit.”
Roeth said she also plans to train the entire Bradford library staff on AED procedures, noting that the life-saving units don’t just belong in hospitals or emergency vehicles, as long as people are trained to correctly use them.
“Whoever is on duty will be able to use the machine. I have no doubt every person on the staff will do it very, very well. We can become a first responder in that situation, while calling 911,” Roeth said.
Roeth called the Miami County Foundation’s grants for AED units “a real benefit for the community.”
AED training is now available as part of CPR training, said McMaken.
“We offer CPR and AED training at the Y once or twice a month. It’s ongoing. We also go onsite for corporate/company employee training. And we’ve had companies come to the Y for training, he said.
McMaken said all YMCA staff are trained on the AED.
“That (April 1, 2014) was the first time I had formally used it on a person who was not a mannequin,” McMaken said. “It was very surreal. When a person has an episode, you let the AED do what it does — scans the heart rhythm and then it gives verbal commands” on what to do next.
“The feeling I had that morning when the victim’s eyes opened and he started gasping for air is one I can’t describe. It was a feeling of extreme relief, but I hope I never have to do it again,” McMaken said.
Donations are being accepted to help the Miami County Foundation continue its grant making into the future. Contributions may be mailed to P.O. Box 1526, Piqua, OH 45356 or online at www.miamicountyfoundation.org.
For further information, contact the office at 773-9012.