AEDs can save your life ... if you can find it


NEW BERN, Craven County - It's a device that could save your life.

Automated External Defibrillators are portable devices used when someone has a heart attack to increase their chances of survival. But knowing they are there is only is half the battle in some places.

Michelle Lynn is the assistant director at the New Bern Convention Center. During an event three years ago, she received a frantic call from her boss.

"And I'm sitting at my desk and the next thing I know my director, Mary McGee, says 'Michelle come to the ballroom'," Lynn said.

A man at an event collapsed. Lynn ran to a cabinet in the main office and grabbed the AED. With the help of co-workers, she began working on the guest in less than a minute while help was on the way because she knew exactly where to find it.

"It's a device used during CPR, it actually stops the heart and lets it reset," said Tony Heckman with New Bern Fire and Rescue.

According to the American Heart Association, a person has a 90 percent chance of survival if the machine is used within the first minute. The number drops 7-10 percent for every minute it is not used.

Heckman said if you can find the device, using it is simple. Just follow the instructions.

We found out a state law passed in 2012 requires all state buildings to carry AEDs. But it up to the municipalities and businesses to decide to get one. In more populated areas like New Bern, Jacksonville, Greenville, Kinston and Morehead City, most city emergency vehicles and police departments carry the device. But other buildings and private businesses varied.

For example, in Greenville, City Hall and Public Works carry the device. In New Bern, they don't. In Kinston, the city complex area has one employees are trained on. Some are out in the open like at Greenville Mall while others may be tucked away somewhere employees can find them like at the Greenville Convention Center.

Finding them is half the battle. A recent study found less than five percent of the public feels comfortable using one in an emergency.

"I had never used the machine on someone that day," Lynn said.

Lynn said you need to trust your instincts if you should ever have to use one.

"When I saw the man, I knew you have to take action," Lynn said.

After all, it was a matter of life and death.