AEDs needed in every public gathering space

If not for the quick actions of his coach, a Fruitport Calvary Christian senior likely wouldn’t be alive today.

The week before Christmas, Luke Anhalt suffered a cardiac arrest during basketball practice. Fortunately, his coach, Jeff Zehr, was able to revive Anhalt using an automated external defibrillator (AED).

While Zehr deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his actions, it can’t be overlooked that his actions wouldn’t have been possible if an AED wasn’t available at the school.

The defibrillator is a portable electronic device that sends electricity to the heart to treat cardiac arrhythmias and helps re-establish an effective rhythm to the organ. The device has saved countless lives across the world, including retired Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Sgt. Randy Poel.

Poel suffered a cardiac arrest while playing hockey at a Muskegon ice rink in 2010. An AED at the rink saved his life.
Poel has since helped bring more than 80 AEDs to West Michigan venues. Four of them have been used in life-saving efforts.

Through a partnership with North Star Medical in Ada, Poel is able to help provide the devices at wholesale cost, especially to organizations that can’t afford them.

“It’s the best $1,000 to $1,500 someone can spend to get those in your place of gathering, whether it’s a school, church or business,” he said.

An AED is an invaluable insurance policy. The cost to put an AED on the wall is a small price to pay when you consider the fact that it could be your father, brother, daughter or grandmother whose life may need to be saved.
We would encourage every athletic venue to make sure an AED is available; and, furthermore, make sure that those who use the venue know where the AED is located and how to use it.

The devices save lives. Just ask the Anhalt and Poel families. It’s hard to imagine where their families would be right now if AEDs had not been available at the the school and the ice rink.

— GRAND HAVEN TRIBUNE