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February 2015

I’m always bragging about the wonderful things that public libraries can do! Well, ok – it’s my job but I wouldn’t be in this position if I wasn’t truly passionate about the role that libraries play in their communities. It’s always so hard for me to fathom that not everyone knows just how much you can find once you walk through the door of a library, but it’s also an incredible feeling when you can welcome someone new and share with them just a small piece of our service that will directly impact their own lives. That’s the satisfaction that keeps me going in this business. Public libraries strive to connect people with information and we also pride ourselves on being strong, supportive collaborative partners to make our library locations destinations for anyone of any age. These days public libraries are more than just books. Yes, there is no doubt it’s still our most lucrative traditional service, but there is just so much more! In fact, today, I’m adding emergency response partner to our long list of attributes!

The La Crosse County Library with locations in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem are honored to partner with the La Crosse County Health Department to put in place and help maintain automated external defibrillators, better known as AED units, at each of our locations. Public access to these life saving devices is an ongoing mission of the American Heart Association and we are proud to participate and help expand La Crosse County’s Public Access Defibrillation Program.

Traditionally these units are placed in public and/or private places where large numbers of people gather – that’d be the library! What a perfect fit! AEDs are computerized medical devices that can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock and amazingly then advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take. The machines are very accurate and easy to use.

By no means are we trained EMS first responders but according to the American Heart Association there are approximately 359,400 emergency medical service – EMS-assessed cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting each year and less than 10% of those victims survive. These AED unites can more than double a victim’s chance of survival and we are now in the fortunate position to be able to assist victims with access to these automated units while the fully trained EMS responders are on their way.

Not only will the machines placed in our public libraries treat children over 8 years of age but we have also been equipped with pediatric attenuated pads for children ages 1-8. Like any emergency training we are hopeful that we will never have to use it, but we are incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in this potentially life-saving partnership.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s public access to defibrillators program, visit their website at www.heart.org and read more on how CPR & AEDs Save Lives! For the latest information about the La Crosse County Library check-out our Program Tab.

Chris McArdle Rojo, MLS
La Crosse County Library Director
103 State St.
Holmen, WI 54636

608-526-9600, opt. 1


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