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Hospital Authority donates AEDs to county facilities

Rockdale Fire Rescue Chief Dan Morgan, left, demonstrates to Rockdale Hospital  Authority member Jim Roppo how to use the Automated External Defibrillator installed at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library Friday morning. A total of 11 AEDs funded by Health Trust Rockdale, a division of the Hospital Authority, will be installed in public facilities throughout the county. Staff Photo: Alice Queen

Rockdale Fire Rescue Chief Dan Morgan, left, demonstrates to Rockdale Hospital Authority member Jim Roppo how to use the Automated External Defibrillator installed at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library Friday morning. A total of 11 AEDs funded by Health Trust Rockdale, a division of the Hospital Authority, will be installed in public facilities throughout the county. Staff Photo: Alice Queen

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Benny Atkins, chairman of the Hospital Authority, spoke to those gathered for a symbolic ribbon-cutting for installation of an Automated External Defibrillator at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library Friday. Atkins said installation of the AEDs fits with the Authority's mission to "improve the mental and physical wellbeing of Rockdale residents through charitable investments in health-related community projects and programs." Staff Photo: Alice Queen

CONYERS -- The chances of Rockdale County residents surviving sudden cardiac arrest got a little better Friday.

The Hospital Authority of Rockdale County, through its Health Trust Rockdale division, installed the first of 11 automated external defibrillators at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library on Friday morning. The AEDs represent an investment of $11,000 out of a total of more than $550,000 the Authority has invested in the health of the community through grants to more than 30 nonprofit or governmental agencies.

Hospital Authority Chairman Benny Atkins addressed those gathered for the occasion, saying he was particularly excited about the Community AED program.

"As the chief executive officer of National EMS, I can personally attest to the fact that AEDs save lives," said Atkins. "Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the American Red Cross, over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. AEDs ... are extremely effective in preventing unnecessary death from sudden cardiac arrest."

In addition to the library location, the AEDs will be installed at Johnson Park, JP Carr Community Center, Olivia Haydel Senior Center, Rockdale County Administration Building, Rockdale County Courthouse and the Rockdale County Government Annex.

"By installing AEDs in public facilities throughout our community, we are giving the residents of Rockdale County the best chance of survival in the event that they suffer from cardiac arrest at any of these locations," Atkins said. "I commend the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and Rockdale Fire Rescue for implementing the Community AED program. It is truly the Authority's pleasure to partner with you on this endeavor."

Rockdale Fire Rescue Chief Dan Morgan demonstrated the use of the AED and said his department will conduct CPR training of county employees at the locations where the AEDs will be installed.

In addition to Atkins, members of the Hospital Authority board of trustees are Vice Chairman Allan Jones, Treasurer/Secretary Beth Andersen, Forrest Doud, M.D., Elisa Frey-Jackson, Norma Henley, Lorraine Kelley, CPA, Jim Roppo and Marsha Rose. Ethel Boyle is chairman emeritus, and Julie Mills is executive director.