Sparta substation receives AED device

Edward Heair, left, connects the medical dummy to the new AED machine as Bruce Burkeen and Randall Yeatman assist. (Photo by Lisa Voyles)

Edward Heair, left, connects the medical dummy to the new AED machine as Bruce Burkeen and Randall Yeatman assist. (Photo by Lisa Voyles)

SPARTA – Volunteer firefighters at the Sparta substation are now better prepared to assist with medical calls in their coverage area.

The addition of an Automated External Defibrillator was made possible through a grant from the Mississippi Emergency Medical Services Operating fund. The grant money is generated by a $5 assessment of fines to assist ambulance services and counties with first responders who work medical calls.

The grant for the Sparta VFD completed the goal of having an AED in place at each of the eight fire stations in the county. The device will be housed at the substation in Sparta and can be mobilized on their fire truck. Fire Chief Randall Yeatman said the AED is a welcome addition to the department, which is a substation of the Woodland VFD.

“The other one is seven miles away from this station,” Yeatman said. “This will give us better response time and better medical services to the community. It can increase a patient’s life until an ambulance can get to us.”

EMA Director Linda Griffin said the device will be helpful in treating all medical calls, even some the public may not think about.

“It may very well be used on these guys right here,” Griffin said of the VFD. “They don’t think about themselves. They think about the community. But when you get paged out at 2 a.m. to a house fire where possible people are involved, that puts a lot of stress on the body.”

County Fire Coordinator Jonathan Blankenship agreed.

“The number one cause of death for firefighters is heart attacks,” Blankenship said. “This can keep the folks safe that keep us safe.”

The Woodland/Sparta VFD has 21 total members with five members at the Sparta location. The firefighters are encouraging more membership and expressed their thanks to Griffin and the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors for their assistance in acquiring the AED for the department.

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