Lucia Mar prepares to save lives

The Lucia Mar Unified School District recently installed two dozen automated external defibrillators at its schools — making it the first in the county to do so.

Lucia Mar trustee Colleen Martin long advocated the devices on campuses following the death of a close friend.

It was three years ago this month that Nipomo resident Richard Beedle died of complications from a cardiac arrest while playing basketball with a group of fellow fathers after hours at a South County school. Some say his death my have been prevented had an AED been available.

Martin, a longtime friend of Beedle’s, said it took 12 minutes for help to arrive. By then, permanent damage had been done, she said.

“I made a promise when he passed away that I would not have another dad, another person, lost that way,” Martin said. “When something bad happens, you don’t have to just accept it.”

The portable medical devices are said to save the life of someone having cardiac arrest by delivering electric shocks to the heart to restart a normal heartbeat.

Today, 17 school sites have the devices, which are in the student services building, maintenance and transportation departments, the school district’s main office, Oceano Community Center and the Clark Center. In addition, more than 175 employees have been trained in CPR and the use of the AED device.

The school district was recently recognized by industry professionals Christine van Solinge of Safety First Seminars and Brandon Kahan of Cardiac Science Corporation for its decision to install the devices at its schools.

The district paid $15,600 for 12 of the AEDs, and two were donated.

Other school districts in the county have a few of the devices at high school campuses or sporting venues.

Two years ago, 30 AEDs were given to several South County churches, the Arroyo Grande Masonic Lodge, St. Patrick’s School, the Pismo Beach Police Department and all Central Coast Rabobank locations.

Less than one year later, two Pismo Beach police officers used one of the devices to save the life of bicyclist David Bushey, who had suffered a heart attack while cycling downtown.

Bushey now advocates and fundraises for the devices to be available in public places and donated the device now at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.