An automated external defibrillator has been installed in Payson's Town Hall.
The defibrillator was installed Dec. 14 to add another place where trained personnel could handle heart attacks in an emergency situation where there isn't enough time to reach a hospital.
Town hall employees, Payson police, parks and recreation and the community development departments have been trained in CPR and how to use the defibrillator, Dan Bramble with the Payson Fire Department said.
Bramble and interim town manager Debra Galbraith were the people who spearheaded the effort to get the defibrillator installed.
AEDs are electronic units that can detect life-threatening heart rhythms or signs of cardiac arrest.
A person's chances of surviving a heart attack are more than doubled when using an AED, Bramble said.
"Demographics might have
had something to do with the decision to get another defibrillator placed in town, but it wasn't the deciding factor," Bramble said.
Galbraith said the town needed the defibrillator.
"I feel that if the public is coming into public offices, we (the Town of Payson) need to have these in place if there's a medical issue," she said.
"Younger people suffer from cardiac problems and need help, too, not just the elderly or infirmed," Bramble said.
"We operate with a system we call ‘time is brain,'" Bramble said.
He said the system operates under the premise that the sooner a victim can be treated for cardiac problems, the better the chance of survival and minimal damage to the brain, due to restricted blood flow.
Bramble said almost any citizen could operate the unit if they follow the instructions.
Not just anyone will have access to the defibrillator though, he said.
"We have them in locations where trained people can access the secured cabinets they're in," Bramble said.
He said Arizona statute requires the units be in locations where there are personnel qualified and trained in their use.
The money came from a portion of Payson's annual budget set aside specifically for miscellaneous expenses, Galbraith said.
There are 24 AEDs in different locations in Payson.
They are located at the Payson Athletic Club, the GCSO Jail, Payson Parks and Recreation-Taylor Pool at 504 N. McLane Rd., Payson Fire Department Station, Payson Public Library, Energy West at 200 W. Longhorn Road, Payson Sleep Services at 614 S. Beeline, William R. Blackmore, DDS at 704 S. Meadow and at Gila Community College.
There are two at the Tonto Apache Tribe Recreational Center and the Tonto Apache Tribe Administration Building at M.P. 251, and at Payson High School.
The Payson Police Department has four AEDs assigned to sergeants Faust, Garvin, Kasl and Heflin. These AEDs are located in the officers' cars for a quick response when they are on duty.
Another four are located at Tonto Apache Tribe Mazatzal Casino at M.P. 251.
The cost of purchasing, equipping and installing the units is about $1,800 each.
The defibrillators are attached to an alarm, so if someone tries to steal one, an alarm automatically sounds.
"The Town of Payson and employees now have another tool in the battle against sudden cardiac arrest," Bramble said.