Local company, group loan AEDs to state fair

Automated external defibrillators are available for emergencies at this year’s Minnesota State Fair thanks to a Coon Rapids organization and a Coon Rapids business.

Paul Mendoza
Paul Mendoza

The Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community organization has teamed up with Advanced First-Aid, Inc. to loan 10 AEDs to the state fair free of charge during its 2013 run, Aug. 22 through Sept. 2.

Two of the loaner AEDs have come from the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community program and the other eight from Advanced First- Aid.

“The state fair typically draws 1.7 million visitors during its 12-day run, that’s roughly 30 percent of the state’s entire population that our AEDs are protecting,” said Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz, one of the organizers of Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community.

“I think that’s pretty awesome. Coon Rapids is providing life saving devices to 30 percent of the state’s population.”

Paul Mendoza owns Advanced First-Aid, Inc. The Coon Rapids resident is also one of the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community organizers and a paramedic with North Memorial Medical Center.

According to Mendoza, the state fair has had AEDs at the fairgrounds in prior years, but through another vendor.

For defibrillators this year, the Minnesota State Fair contacted Medtronic, the Fridley-based medical device company, Mendoza said.

Medtronic called Mendoza, who sells the Medtronic defibrillator product through his business, he said.

Six police officers who patrol the fairgrounds in squad cars during the state fair each have one in their car, Mendoza said.

The other four have been placed around the fairgrounds, he said.

One is at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, another just north of the Grandstand and a third at the education/senior building, Mendoza said.

Mendoza is not sure where the last one has been placed and that’s something he would try to correct if his company and the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community loan the AEDs to the Minnesota State Fair next year, he said.

“The AEDs need to be more visible to the public,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza is in his 13th year of selling AEDs through his business, Advanced First-Aid, Inc., which also provides consulting and education services to businesses on the need for AEDs, oxygen and other first aid training like cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

“We sell to anyone that needs an AED,” Mendoza said.

According to Mendoza, AEDs should be placed in all public places and businesses.

“They are very important,” Mendoza said.

The Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community project is a grass roots effort being led by several people in the community and is supported by the Coon Rapids City Council.

The organizers are working toward the goal of having Coon Rapids designated a Heart Safe Community by the American Heart Association.

Joining Platz and Mendoza as organizers is Coon Rapids Fire Inspector Nick House.

The Heart Safe program educates the community about sudden cardiac arrest and helps train the public in CPR and AED use.

In addition, the organizers have launched a campaign to have AEDs placed in all businesses in the city.

AEDs are the only tool that can help restore a normal heart rhythm to someone who suffers sudden cardiac arrest, according Platz.

Sudden cardiac arrest affects about 1,000 people each day in the United States and almost all of them die, making sudden cardiac arrest one of the leading causes of death, Platz said.

The two AEDs that the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community owns are loaned out to large public events in Coon Rapids, for example, the Fourth of July celebration at Sand Creek Park, Epiphany Springfest and sports tournaments, he said.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]