Rockford Mass Transit to purchase defibrillators

The Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) has purchased four HeartStart FRx defibrillator units and will be installing them in key locations throughout the Mulberry Street facility and the Transfer Center on West State Street.

These defibrillators will be available for use in the event that an employee, passenger or visitor goes into cardiac arrest.

The four heart defibrillators were purchased from HeartSolutions, Inc., in Rockford. Each unit costs approximately $1,800. RMTD is paying for these units in part from a state grant and in part from the funds raised at the RMTD Golf Outing fund-raiser earlier this year.

Each defibrillator unit is lightweight and easy to use. In the event the defibrillator is needed, any person could take the unit off the wall and carry it to the patient’s side. The defibrillator units weigh 3.3 pounds. A green handle is pulled, and voice instructions are activated. The instructions are paced to the user’s actions and will guide the user, step by step, through the entire process, from placing the pads on the patient to delivering the shock. Once the EMTs arrive, the portable defibrillator can even provide the medical team with a vital summary of care information.

The decision was made to purchase these heart units as part of RMTD’s ongoing commitment to safety and security for both its passengers and employees. The American Heart Association estimates 40,000 more lives could be saved annually in the U.S. alone if defibrillators were more widely available. RMTD is now in a position to respond in the event this type of medical emergency happens at the District’s facilities. RMTD hopes to purchase more of these units in the future and eventually be able to install a defibrillator on every vehicle. The District has a fleet of 65 vehicles.

In August 2006, RMTD held a Golf Outing fund-raiser. The $5,066 raised at this event is being used to offset the cost of the defibrillators. The total price for the four units, mounting apparatus and training is $8,405.21. The difference is being funded by a State of Illinois grant. It is the intention of RMTD to continue to host the Golf Outing and other fund-raisers in an effort to purchase capital items and offset operating costs.

RMTD provides more than 1.4 million rides each year. The District has a fleet of 65 fixed route and paratransit vehicles, and offers 18 hours of service Monday through Friday, 13 hours of service Saturdays, and eight hours Sundays. RMTD also provides service to Loves Park and Machesney Park.

From the Feb. 28-March 6, 2007, issue

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