Defibrillators—those electric paddles used to restart your heart in a medical emergency—will soon be everywhere in Manhattan Beach.
At least that’s the goal of this year’s Leadership Manhattan Beach class.
The group is seeking to distribute 20 to 30 automated external defibrillators in police cars and public locations throughout the city by early summer, according to class member Shahab Medi.
“It’s a very important life-saving device that will then be available to the population of the community,” said Medi, a local business owner who plays a marketing role within the class of roughly 25 students.
The class has already begun networking for the project, Medi noted, including receiving verbal approval from the Manhattan Beach Police Department as one of the 2019 Leadership MB class members is also a police officer.
Patrol Sergeant Steve Kitsios said the dispersing of the AED units in patrol cars will allow for more lives to be saved due to police officers being constantly in the field.
"We are normally the first ones on the scene," he said, explaining all emergency calls to the fire department also get dispatched to the police. "Those four or five minutes (in an emergent situation) can be a matter of life and death. If we have an AED unit, we can respond...shock the person's heart and bring them back to life, performing CPR until the fire department gets there."
Kitsios said the AED units also contain technology which vocally instructs users whether or not they are performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) chest compressions correctly and that the device won't electrocute a heart that doesn't need it.
"Any person out there can still place the pads on the person and the machine will verbalize CPR instructions on how to do it," Kitsios said. "But we still encourage you to train."
Medi explained the Leadership Manhattan Beach class will also be partnering with the Manhattan Beach Community Emergency Response Team Association in urging the public to train on how to use the devices.
“We are working hand in hand with them because once these units are installed, we are going to encourage not only police officers, but regular individuals to train themselves so if they come across the situation and are close by, they can take care of it,” Medi added.
Medi explained the overall mission is to save as many lives as possible.
“The hope is that other neighboring cities might see the benefit and do the same in the future,” he said.
Fundraising efforts to finance the roughly $55,000 project will kick off March 11, with a public event set for 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tin Roof Bistro, 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach.
The evening will include mini demonstrations about how the AED works as well as information about where to get training, Medi said.
Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door, and will include appetizers.
To purchase tickets or make donations to the project, visit the group’s website https://leadershipmb2019.weebly.com/.
Medi said the website will also serves as a continuous source of information on AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation for the community.
He added the website will be updated to include locations of where the devices are installed as well as training resources.
For information on AED or CPR training, visit http://mbcerta.org/
For more information on the project or Leadership MB - a comprehensive, nine-month leadership program “to educate and develop future community leaders,” according to the program’s website - visit https://www.leadershipmb.org/page/home.