A new lifesaving device was recently installed at the Payson Athletic Club, and it could be coming to a store near you.
The device is an Automated External Defibrillator, which, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, is used to assess a person's heart rhythm. If necessary, it administers an electric shock to restore a normal rhythm in victims of cardiac arrest.
Until recently, the device was found only in hospitals or airplanes. But the technology is becoming more affordable for many more public places, such as the athletic club.
Kent Echols, club owner, said he had an AED installed because many of the members are elderly and because safety is a priority.
"It's like a great comfort -- an added bonus -- to the gym," Echols said. The Payson Athletic Club is the first in Payson to install the machine and offer training to its employees. But the fire department and the Mogollon Health Alliance hope it is the first of many.
"Ideally we'd like to have two in the casino, one in the other gym, one in Wal-Mart and one in Bashas' and Safeway," said Dan Bramble, American Heart Association instructor and firefighter.
"It's about public access, putting it in strategic spots around the town."
When a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, chances of survival decrease by seven to 10 percent for each minute that passes without defibrillation. A victim's best chance for survival is when there is revival within four minutes.
"The fire department tries to have a four-minute response time, they may not get there in time," Bramble said. "The sooner the AED is used, the chances of survival increase dramatically."
The MHA granted the club's request for the AED using donated funds. It also paid for the training.
"That's why we have fund-raisers," Judy Baker, executive director of the MHA, said. "We're raising money to pay for those who can't afford programs like this."
The MHA also offers free cardiopulmonary resuscitation training throughout the year.
"It's about quality of life," Bramble said. "It would make me feel good to know that 50 percent of the city knows CPR. You never know when or where an emergency is going to happen. It could be you."