Local Foundation Donates Defibrillators

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- They can strike without warning, many times leaving someone critically injured--or worse.

When a heart attack hits, every second counts.

Doctors at Montgomery's Baptist Medical Center East see patients with heart trouble every day.

For more than 250,000 Americans per year, however, a condition known as sudden cardiac arrest--or "SCA"--can stop people in their tracks before they even get to the hospital.

"Nearly half of the cardiac deaths are sudden deaths that aren't the traditional heart attacks," explained Dr. Robert Venable, an emergency physician.

That's why Ben Kelley of Baptist Healthcare Foundation is trying to curb the numbers, placing 22 automated defibrillators in locations that may need them during a sudden emergency.

Each unit costs approximately $1,400.

"We feel like its very important because if you can respond within the first three minutes, there's a better chance of survival for the person that has the heart attack," Kelley said.

They're not just giving the units to ballparks and malls.  Many local high schools, universities and churches will also get the life saving devices.

"In the event that we needed one, those seconds can mean the difference between life and death of a church member," said David Gaumbach, senior pastor at Montgomery's Heritage Baptist Church.

Right now, locations with AED systems in place report survival rates as high as 74%, according to the American Health Association.

Organizers want to donate 70 AEDs as well as training programs throughout the greater Montgomery area.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke