Ladue-Frontenac Patch checked with local law enforcements, schools and churches to find out how ready they are for heart-related emergencies.
Ladue Fire Chief Eric Hinson says his community of 8,000 residents can rest easy.
"They key to saving lives is to have a person with a heart incident having help within 4-5 minutes," Hinson explained. "We have automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on all our fire trucks and in our police cars. Nearly all our firemen are paramedics now and they have all been trained to use this equipment."
Jack Trout, chief of the Frontenac Fire Department and a 33-year veteran, said his department is also well prepared to respond.
"We have AEDs on all our fire trucks, our ambulances and police squad cars. Our assistant fire chief and chief carry the same equipment on their command vehicles," he said.
The fire trucks also have heart monitors which can transmit critical data to hospitals.
"All this helps to save lives," said Trout.
The fire chief been helping area schools and churches get up to speed. The Frontenac Fire Department installed equipment and helped provide training for his parish, Our Lady of Pillar in Creve Coeur.
Stacey Morgan, head athletic trainer at MICDS, and her assistant Eric North maintain seven AED units on campus.
"About a dozen years ago, we had an eighth grader go into cardiac arrest in physical education class," Morgan said. "The coaches gave him CPR and he survived. Since then, we've made a commitment to have equipment and training for our staff. All of this equipment is at the ready for athletic events."
With budget cuts the Ladue School District had to give up the AED units at the middle school. There is still an available AED for athletic contests at Ladue High School, according to head nurse Ann Body.
"The costs were just getting exorbitant. You have to add new batteries and new parts all the time, and that can cost $1,000 a unit," Body said. "Our response time with Ladue emergency has always been 4-5 minutes when we needed it." Otherwise, Ladue staff personnel are well trained in all aspects of CPR and first aid.
As Chief Hinson pointed out:
"Early defibrillation is always the key to survival for any heart patient."