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Jumpstart A Heart

Marquette County law enforcement, Community Foundation of Marquette County raising money for new AED equipment

From left, Marquette County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Best and Sheriff Greg Zyburt demonstrate the use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, while CPR/First Aid/AED trainer Corporal Brian Kurin looks on. Fundraising efforts are underway to raise money for new AED equipment for area law enforcement agencies by September. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Law Enforcement Administrators Association and the Community Foundation of Marquette County are raising money to upgrade AED equipment for area law enforcement.

AEDs, or automated external defibrillators, are used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The devices are capable of analyzing the heart’s rhythm and delivers an electrical shock, also known as “defibrillation” to help the heart re-establish its rhythm.

The devices are used by first responders and are available for use in most public settings in the event someone experiences a cardiac emergency.

Marquette County law enforcement responded to 46 cardiac emergency calls requesting the use of AEDs in 2020, according to a news release from the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and the Community Foundation of Marquette County.

Law enforcement officers are often the first on scene for medical calls and always have AEDs and other necessary equipment with them while on duty. But like every piece of technology, the devices experience wear and tear over time and have seen better days.

That’s why MCLEAA and the community foundation are looking to upgrade the equipment through the Jumpstart A Heart initiative. Organizers are hoping to raise $81,454.50 to purchase new AED equipment for the Forsyth Township Police Department, the Negaunee City Police Department, the Michigan State Police, the Chocolay Township Police Department, the Marquette City Police Department, the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team.

Organizers say that some of the current equipment, which is more than 15 years old and has passed its life expectancy, is no longer reliable and is not compatible with other EMS equipment.

Upgrading the equipment will allow for a smooth transition from the AED to more advanced lifesaving equipment on scene, organizers said. Each law enforcement officer using the device will have the proper training to operate the equipment along with first aid and CPR skills.

Marquette County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Best is one of the law enforcement officers spearheading the collaborative effort.

“The hope is that the AEDs are never needed,” Best said in the release. “However, a life changing cardiac event can happen unexpectedly to anyone from an infant to elder, at any time, and any location. These updated AED units can serve patients of any age and are portable enough to be transported to even the most remote area through difficult terrain. Residents, visitors and those passing through the area can all be tended to by a trained responding officer with this lifesaving equipment.”

Fundraising efforts are underway, and a GoFundMe campaign has raised $250 as of Sunday. The West End Health Foundation, Negaunee Area Community Fund and Marquette Area Community Fund have also committed funds to the project.

“The Community Foundation is pleased to partner with MCLEAA on this project,” said Zosia Eppensteiner, CEO of the foundation. “The need for this equipment was brought to our attention by Sheriff (Greg) Zyburt. Part of the Community Foundation’s mission is to ‘lead and collaborate to address community opportunities.’ Partnering with MCLEAA to raise funds for a project that will address this critical need and create long-term impact for the entire county is definitely something we are excited to be a part of.”

Area residents can donate to the GoFundMe campaign at www.gofund.me/c089d941. Donations can also be made on the community foundation’s website by visiting www.cfofmc.org.

To make a donation by check, mail it to the Community Foundation of Marquette County at P.O. Box 37, Marquette, MI 49855.

All contributions to the project are tax deductible due to MCLEAA partnering with the Community Foundation as the fiscal agent for the project.

MCLEAA and the Community Foundation hope to have the new AED equipment purchased and distributed for law enforcement to have on patrol with them by September.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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