CN, CNB donate AEDs to fire departments
Cherokee Nation citizen and Oaks Fire Department Chief Vince Osburn holds a new automated external defibrillator donated by the CN and Cherokee Nation Businesses. The tribe and CNB donated AEDs to 50 fire departments within the tribal jurisdiction. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
OAKS, Okla. – On Oct. 5, with the help of the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses, 50 northeastern Oklahoma rural fire departments received new portable automated external defibrillators to aid in medical emergencies.
The AEDs will increase life-saving capabilities for first responders to treat sudden cardiac arrest by sending electric shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm.
The Oaks Fire Department was one of the recipients of an AED.
OFD Chief and CN citizen Vince Osburn said his department is thankful for the donation and that it helps “tremendously” by replacing a 10-year-old AED the department was using.
The AED is used on adults, infants and children who undergo sudden cardiac arrest.
“If you can get the defibrillator there within five minutes, you can live a little longer. You’ll have a better chance of making it through that cardiac arrest,” Osburn said. “It’s (not) like it used to be when we was waiting 30, 35 minutes on a cardiac arrest or waiting on an ambulance to get here. We had to take care of it.”
Osburn said to buy a piece of equipment such as the AED would “take a lot” out the OFD funding, which is also used for other equipment and upkeep of the station.
The AED is not the only CN donation the OFD uses. It also uses a CN ambulance and receives yearly fire-operation funding from the tribe.
Osburn said his department is thankful for what the CN has done for it.
“All these guys, they’re very appreciative of the Cherokee Nation (of) anything they do (whether) it’s the operation money, equipment or just being here with the ambulance. People don’t realize how important this ambulance is here. If it (wasn’t) for the Cherokee Nation we’d be sitting here waiting 30 minutes doing CPR, no AED and no ambulance. We’d be waiting that long,” he said.
The AEDs were purchased by the CNB employee-driven fundraising campaign called “Heart of a Nation.” “Heart of a Nation” officials partner with CNB and the tribe’s Health Services annually to raise funds to purchase necessary medical equipment. This year’s focus was AEDs.
“Our rural firefighters, as it occurred to us, help so many people. Many of these rural firefighters are our people but more significantly they’re out in our communities and they’re saving lives and protecting,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
Hoskin said many rural fire departments in the jurisdiction run on “shoestring budgets.”
“They’re doing good in these times, particularly with Oklahoma’s fiscal problems, just keeping their engines running, keeping the lights on, just very basic things. We thought if we could help them with some additional resources that would be good,” Hoskin said.
CN and CNB officials plan to continue raising funds and donating AEDs to every jurisdictional fire department in the next three years. One AED costs nearly $900 and there are approximately 130 fire departments in the jurisdiction.
“We looked at the cost of the AEDs and what we could do in terms of fundraising, and we said over a three-year period we could get all of the rural fire departments in all the 14 counties,” Hoskin said.