Defibrillators placed at two new sites in downtown Aiken 1

From left, Aiken Assistant City Manager Kim Abney; City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh; Aiken City Councilwoman Lessie Price; Rotary Club of Aiken President John Lindsay; S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, R-Aiken; and Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon pose for a photo with an automatic external defibrillator that was placed in the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts earlier this month.

Automatic external defibrillators were placed recently in two new locations in downtown Aiken, according to a City of Aiken news release issued earlier this month.

The devices are located in The Alley behind the Municipal Building and in the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts.

Money from the Rotary Club of Aiken and a grant from Rotary International paid for the purchase of the defibrillators, and the City of Aiken’s staff installed them, said Rotary Club of Aiken President John Lindsay.

The defibrillators can be used to reestablish a normal heart rhythm in cardiac arrest victims.

“If you think about the number of people who are in The Alley, particularly on Thursdays and at other times, there is a greater possibility that someone is going to be experiencing cardiac issues,” Lindsay said. “At the performing arts center, there are a lot of senior citizens that go to events, so it is our belief that it was perhaps another place where the likelihood (of heart problems), in general, was higher.”

According to the release, the survival rate for cardiac arrest victims is significantly higher when a defibrillator is used in conjunction with bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation before emergency responders arrive.

“The City of Aiken is proud to partner with the Rotary Club of Aiken to place these AEDs in the AECOM theater and in The Alley,” said Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon in a prepared statement. “It is through partnerships such as these that makes our community one of the best small cities anywhere.”

The Rotary Club was involved in efforts to install 12 defibrillators previously in other locations in the Aiken area.

The Aiken Sunrise Rotary Club, Aiken Regional Medical Centers and Aiken Electric Cooperative also provided financial assistance, Lindsay said.

The sites where those devices are located include the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center, Aiken County Government Center, the interior of the Municipal Building and Gravatt Camp and Conference Center.

The Rotary Club of Aiken performed a community needs assessment to identify the places where the defibrillators should be installed.

In the future, it’s possible that the Rotary Club of Aiken will provide additional financial support to put defibrillators at other sites locally.

“If there is a demonstrated need, then we will pursue it and see what resources we can come up with to finance more of them,” Lindsay said.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.