In recognizing National CPR/AED Awareness Week, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) and its Iowa affiliate,
Iowa AED Access For All (IAAFA), donated a Defibtech automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Lucas County Law Center
and Jail. This was one of 30 AEDs donated to non-profit organizations across the United States. SCAA’s program is made
possible through the generous support of Cardiac Science, Defibtech, and Zoll. With their support, SCAA has been able to
touch thousands of lives over the past four years, particularly in rural communities where sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)
survival is even more sparse due to geographic barriers.
SCA is the leading cause of death in America, killing approximately 300,00 lives yearly. It is an electrical
disruption of the heart’s natural rhythm and is not the same as a heart attack. It can strike any one of any age at
any time at any place. Time is the enemy with a cardiac arrest. For each minute that elapses from the time of onset
until the first shock from the AWED is delivered, a victim’s chance of survival decreases 10%. Only about 5% of SCA
An AED is made for non-medical people to use. The device talks you through everything you need to do. CPR/AED
Awareness Week was designated by the United States Congress for Americans to become more educated about by-stander
assistance in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED usage.
"Many people are afraid they will shock a person at the wrong time and kill them," said Butch Gibbs of Humeston,
whose life was saved by the immediate start of CPR and the quick arrival of an AED. "The device will not shock until
it is ready and you cannot kill the person because they are already dead. They will either stay that way or be revived."
"You do not decide when to shock—the AED decides," commented Susie Gibbs, RN, who works in the Emergency Room of the
Lucas County Health Center in Chariton and was the person who started CPR on Butch when he suffered a sudden cardiac
arrest in their home on April 2, 2004.
Pictured are Susie & Butch Gibbs, representing the SCAA and IAAFA, Lucas County Sheriff Jim Baker, and Jail
Administrator Jennifer Griffin, who expressed the interest in placing an AED in their facility.
The Humeston First Responders Get a New Ambulance
The Humeston First Responders are celebrating the beginning of their 25th year in existence by recently taking delivery of their newest piece of equipment---a new 2010 Chevrolet MedTech ambulance. The new rig arrived January 20, from Foster Coach Sales, Inc. of Sterling, Illinois.
A United States Department of Agriculture Community Rural Development grant to the City of Humeston paid 75% of the cost of the new vehicle. The remaining cost was taken from funds already received by the local EMS group.
The group will remain as a non-transport unit. "To operate as an ambulance service, we would need more equipment, more training, more people, and more money," stated Susie Gibbs, Humeston First Responders Co-President. "We have a good working relationship with all the neighboring ambulance crews."
The non-transport volunteer group was formed in the fall of 1986. Their purpose is to respond to the scene of medical and trauma emergencies and do what they can for the patient until an ambulance can arrive. With area ambulance services based at the hospitals in the county seat towns, many residents are 20-30 minutes away from the arrival of an ambulance. These minutes can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
Having an ambulance as their primary vehicle will allow the First Responders to get patients who are outside, out of the weather or into a safer place.
The Humeston First Responder territory includes the cities of Humeston and Derby, along with all of Richman and Clay Townships and the west half of Washington Township including Cambria in Wayne County and all of Union Township and the west half of Warren Township in Lucas County.
Twelve local people make up the unit and more are welcome to volunteer. To become a member, you must be at least 18 years of age and successfully complete the class which is mandated by the State of Iowa. You then must pass state written and practical examinations to gain your certification from the Iowa Department of Public Health EMS Bureau. The Humeston First Responder unit is also subject to state-inspection every two years to make sure they are keeping accurate records of certification, training, and patient records and to make sure they have the proper equipment in good working-order.
Current members of the group are Monty Franklin, Barb Stiles, Erick Gunzenhauser, Jan Lundahl, Andy Graham, and Peggy Beavers who are all First Responder-certified. Belinda Adkins and Rich and Christine Auxier, who are certified at the EMT-B level and Susie and Butch Gibbs, who are at the EMT-I level. The Gibbs’s are the only original members of the group still active. Dixie McKay is no longer an active First Responder but has remained as the Secretary-Treasurer.
The Humeston First Responders would not have been able to pay for 25% of this vehicle or purchase much of their equipment if not for the generous donations of many people in the community over the past 25 years. "The State EMS Coordinator who covers our area just smiles and shakes her head when she comes to inspect us," commented Butch Gibbs. "We also appreciate the financial assistance given to us by the City of Humeston and the trustees of the townships."
Most of all, the group is grateful for the assistance of the Humeston Fire Department. Many fire departments were not as cooperative when local EMS groups were started.
"We never had that problem," said Butch & Susie Gibbs. "The Humeston Fire Department and the Fire Chiefs in the past 25 years---Wayne Christy, Gerald Roe, and Greg Watsabugh---and all firefighters during this time have supported us. If the pager announcement calling us out sounds like they might be needed for rescue, traffic control, or lifting assistance, they are right there with us."
The Humeston First Responders would like to thank the Humeston Fire Department for the use of their equipment truck for the past several months and for the work the firefighters have done in helping them get the new rig ready to roll.
Equipment was moved into the new vehicle and the radio was installed January 23, and the new rig is now ready to roll.
Kayla's Angels presents an AED to Fairmeadows Elementary School
Kayla Donahe, an SCA survivor, presents an AED purcahsed by Kayla's Angels to Fairmeadows Elementary School in West Des Moines.