Our View: Wall leaves behind AED legacy

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Editorial Board, August through December 2010

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Rich Lowe, community representative
  • Sue Birch, community representative

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— Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall is leaving office next month, closing out a four-year ride that wasn’t without its bumps. But Wall departs with at least one lasting, positive legacy: the automated external defibrillators in every Routt County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle.

Wall had campaigned for AEDs starting with a supplemental budget request to the Routt County Board of Com­missioners in 2008. The commissioners denied the request, partly because Wall’s department budget already was $1 million over (that budget overage was remedied). He reiterated the need for defibrillators after a man had a heart attack in the Sheriff’s Office parking lot in June and didn’t survive. Routt County decided in fall to buy 30 AEDs with an Amer­­ican Red Cross grant that allowed for a 47 percent discount. The county paid $33,644.

Commission Chairwoman Nancy Stahoviak said the commissioners and county department leaders supported buying AEDs and were on the path toward making the purchase. Still, Wall’s persistence helped make it happen.

The defibrillators are easy to use with proper training, and county employees have been trained to use them and to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. On its website, the American Heart Association explains how the medical devices work: “An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take.”

The decision to put defibrillators in sheriff’s deputies’ patrol cars isn’t exactly a no-brainer — during tight budget times, nothing is — but the devices are a great investment. A cardiac incident can strike at any time, and everyone visiting and living in Routt County is better off when emergency responders have the tools they need to save a life.

The American Heart Association also supports the practice. It promotes putting defibrillators in all emergency medical service first-response vehicles and ambulances, as well as public areas such as sports arenas, gated communities, office complexes, doctor’s offices and more. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has more than a dozen AEDs, and schools and other facilities in Steamboat such as Howelsen Hill keep them on hand.

This change at the county and Sheriff’s Office might serve as a prompt for other local businesses to consider AEDs when appropriate (training is important, the heart association stresses). The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that in 2001 and 2002, 1,216 of the 6,628 workplace deaths reported to the agency resulted from heart attacks, 354 from electric shocks and 267 from asphyxia. Of those, OSHA estimates that as many as 60 percent could have been prevented by defibrillators.

“Chances of survival from sudden cardiac death diminish by 7 to 10 percent for each minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation. After 10 minutes, resuscitation rarely succeeds,” OSHA states on its website.

So as Wall steps down, we’d like to thank him for pushing the county toward the purchase of AEDs. If the devices save one life, they’re more than worth the price tag.

Comments

tcb 3 years, 11 months ago

Hey, no no no no. It's not AED...it's DUI. Too bad the Pilot didn't step up over the past 4 years and take a stand on Wall's ridiculous behavior. I guess this is as a good a time as ever to pucker up and kiss some butt.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

It will be noted - Wall deployed AED's into vehicles. HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

Not that having AED's in Sheriffs vehicles isn't a good thing, I can't wait to see the stats on whether they are deployed and save lives in the county. Keep us posted PILOT.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

Didn't the newspaper article state that the man, needing assistance, had to follow the Sheriffs patrol vehicle for over a mile trying to get it to stop to help him? Didn't the vehicle only stop because it returned to the SO?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Seesuki, Odds are that they won't be used hardly at all, but the cost compared to the benefit is pretty good. Lot more likely they will be used than the ones at the schools.

If just one is used a decade then that is still a reasonable cost to save a life. County is paying just over $1,100 per AED and at that cost theymake sense even just as something that could save an officer's life in a critical situation.

To those that speak with such venom towards Gary Wall, you are setting the tone by which people talk about Sheriff's dept issues. If you want civility and rational discussion of any issues when Wiggins is Sheriff then you should be willing to comment as you would expect people to comment about Wiggins.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

Scott, My comment was fact - No venom injected. The fact is that it must very difficult to divert a patrol vehicle. I thought the AED's were for everyone's benefit not "just as something that could save an officer's life in a critical situation !"

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

The AEDs are for everyone's benefit. I was just pointing out that at $1,100 or so each then it could be justified based upon potentially saving an officer. And thus, being able to save a member of the public could be viewed as a wonderful freebie.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

To date has anyone been saved Scott? Has anyone died because a Sheriffs vehicle was not equipped? I want to see data, not the PILOT creating a phony legacy of caring for Gary Wall.

I am no less vulnerable to medical emergencies than the next guy and think that AED's are fine but the over promotion here as if Gary is amazing is too much.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 11 months ago

wow, the troll patrol is out in full force today.

Scott - "civility and rational discussion of issues", pretty hilarious considering the m.o. of folks you are responding to.

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housepoor 3 years, 11 months ago

Evelyn Barr, let it go, the AED's are a good idea, Wall gets a little credit, SO WHAT!!!!

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

housepoor- Of course he gets credit! His skill at over promoting himself is incredible! That is his legacy.

justsomejoe- There are going to be alot of positive changes at your place of employment.
Respect the " troll patrol ". They pay your wages.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 11 months ago

ftpheide - what are you talking about? I work for a private company, not for any city or county agency. I don't respect misanthropes as a rule.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Just curious, besides Wall and Bustos leaving, what other positive changes do you expect at the Sheriff's office?

Do you expect more or fewer drug busts? Do you expect more or fewer undercover operations? Do you expect more or fewer bad searches/arrests? (What do you think were bad searches/arrests during Wall's tenure). What else do you expect besides Wiggins not getting arrested DUI or Birch not getting into a traffic accident?

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bandmama 3 years, 11 months ago

first, if the device saves one life, no matter who it is. then it is worth the price. Scott- I dont know about ftp, but I would expect some responsibilities for ones actions. I think it is called moral conduct, perhaps becoming of an elected official??? Maybe NOT setting such a poor example for the youth in the county? Instead of 'you drink, you drive, you get busted and use your position to TRY to get away with it?" How about just doing the job you were elected to do, to the best of your ability and not only serving those in the county who have influence? I have never met Mr Wiggins per handshake. But I have spoken with many who feel that he is a man of honor who respects the community and his home turf. And I do find the word "legacy" an insult to all of our intelligence when reading these posts. The legacy some leave is not always painted in a positive way. We made the freaking Denver news about the 'incident" in question. This made a mockery of the law enforcement in Routt County and has only made the job harder for those that actually try to uphold the laws put forth. And no matter what the newbies do or dont do, there will be those who remember the 'joke" that was laid on every tax paying bloke in Routt Cty. it only made the job harder. Oh yeah, who do you know that keeps deleting posts that speak unfavorably towards you? HAHHAHAHAHAAAA! Happy New Years.

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