Adena Health Expanding Public Access to Life-Saving Machines at Community Events

Rapid access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can save lives when sudden cardiac arrest strikes.

That is why Adena Health and the Adena Health Foundation, beginning with this year’s Ross County Fair, will be making AEDs available to organizers of events in which the health system is a sponsor.

“Adena Health sponsors community events like The Buck Fifty, the Sand in the Streets volleyball tournament, various 5K runs, July 4 activities, and many more,” said John Gabis, MD, medical director of community partnerships. “As part of our ongoing efforts to support community health and well-being, we decided we would make AEDs deployable to events that Adena sponsors so there is more rapid access to the equipment at large gatherings, especially those in which people are physically active.”

An AED is a relatively easy-to-use device with audio prompts for the user to follow that is effective in providing rapid assistance to those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It quickly analyzes a heart’s rhythm and then, if necessary, can deliver an electric shock that assists the heart in returning to a more regular rhythm. It also can potentially restart a person’s heart and brain functions if used quickly enough on someone whose functions have stopped due to cardiac arrest.

The value of AEDs was highlighted on the national stage in January when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field following a blow to the chest during a Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati. Hamlin’s heart stopped, but was restarted through the combined efforts of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and rapid use of an AED.

Dr. Gabis said that a mention of that incident accompanied a request from a member of the Ross County Fair Board for additional AEDs on the fairgrounds during the upcoming fair. The possibility of providing the devices was discussed with leadership of both the health system and Adena Health Foundation. The decision was made to purchase four new AEDs with Adena Health Foundation funds to expand access to the life-saving devices at community events.

The two devices that have arrived thus far will be deployed on the Ross County Fairgrounds in time for fair week.

A process is being worked out so that organizers of events sponsored by the health system can connect with Adena Health to check them out and check them back in, as well as request assistance in setting them up at specific locations for the event. Each time the machines are checked back in, they will be examined for any wear and tear and any necessary maintenance done to ensure they are in good working order for the next event for which they are requested.

For more information about the many other ways Adena Health is collaborating with schools, organizations, and businesses throughout its nine-county service region, visit