We set up ours about two years ago. No need to use it just yet, but Catholic News Hub reports on a Wisconsin parish that used it to save a life.
Just as he does every Saturday, John Fazer went to the 4:15 p.m. Mass. And just like it always is the evening before a Green Bay Packers’ home game, Mass was packed. But something was very different that day: John, who wasn’t feeling well, collapsed at Communion.
Then he heard the alarm go off on the automated external defibrillator (AED) the parish had bought two years ago. The ushers, as they had been trained to do, had reacted quickly, going to where the AED is kept, just outside the sacristy door, and bringing it to the scene.
The portable electronic device diagnoses then treats cardiac arrest by re-establishing an effective heart rhythm through an electric shock to the heart muscle – defibrillation – which uniformly clears the heart’s electrical activity so it can resynchronize.
As it turned out, no electric shock was given. The device can diagnose if a shock is needed, giving audio instructions to those who are using it. Our staff had a ninety-minute training session on the device when we acquired it. A parishioner who is a nurse has been behind the effort to set us up with the AED and train people to use it.
I wonder what my friend Bill would think. He was the head usher for a parish at which I served many years ago. He made sure at least one usher at every Mass was Red Cross certified for First Aid and CPR. We had annual workshops for certification, and at least half the usher crew was up to speed on it.