It’s unsettling to witness someone having a medical emergency. Fortunately, many bystanders are quick to take action and render aid to those in need and, as many medical professionals proclaim, time is of the essence in those situations.

In certain situations, having the necessary tools play a deciding factor in the outcome too—tools like automatic external defibrillators or AEDs.

The recent news that a Country Smoke House employee’s life was saved thanks in part to the quick action of her co-workers and the use on an onsite AED served as a reminder of just how critical such devices can be.

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 1,700 lives are saved per year in the United States by bystanders using an AED. Besides saving lives, the Heart Association says the shock therapy has been shown to result in better health outcomes for those who survive cardiac arrest.

As AED became more common in the past 10-plus years, our pages were frequently filled with stories about foundations and other community groups helping first responders, schools and public entities purchase AEDs. This week’s news that the Four County Community Foundation’s recent gift to the Imlay City Fire Department has allowed for the purchase of two new AEDs was a great reminder of how the public has been kept safe over the years by this shoebox-sized device. Plans to place the AEDs on two of the department’s trucks means that both firefighters and anyone on scene of an emergency they respond to will have quick access to them.

Like so many things, AEDs become obsolete after a period of time and need to be replaced. It’s reassuring to know that public agencies can turn to generous entities like the Four County Community Foundation for help in making that kind of purchase.

Hopefully these recent developments spur others in the community to consider purchasing AEDs for their business, church or other gathering space or to brush up on their first aid skills, including CPR and AED operation.

We’ve been reminded that quick response with the right skills and tools can have a big impact.