One local community organization got the best Valentine’s Day gift of all — one that saves hearts.
Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH) Emergency Medical Services donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, which recognized the gift during a home dedication on Feb. 14.
“On Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but state that the people who come out and give of their time and talent have some of the biggest hearts I have ever seen. So you can imagine how valuable these men and women are to us, and how we would do anything to protect those hearts,” said Alex Statham-Lardner, volunteer and youth engagement coordinator for Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity. “Today, I am honored to thank Julie Scott and the Poudre Valley Hospital EMS team for donating an incredible device so we can do just that.”
The AED donation was a result of many efforts within UCHealth, said Julie Scott, education coordinator for PVH EMS. Linda “Britt” Britton, PVH trauma program manager, has been a volunteer with Habitat for years and identified a need for a portable first aid kit as well as an AED. Britton brought her idea to Marilyn Schock, chief operations officer of PVH and Medical Center of the Rockies, who brought PVH EMS on board.
This is not the first time PVH EMS has helped its neighbors through donations. In the past it has donated older ambulances to rural mountain emergency departments — a new, empty ambulance runs about about $145,000, according to Scott. The department also provided education ambulances, including one for Front Range Community College in Fort Collins. And it’s given new and refurbished AEDs to small-budget organizations, such as the Timnath Police Department and partnering organizations, including the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department.
“Many of these are volunteer agencies with minimal budgets, and these donations make a significant contribution to their readiness and ability to respond,” said Steve Main, PVH EMS director. “Other agencies, such as [Poudre Fire Authority] and the sheriff’s office, do not have medical as their primary mission. When we donate to them, we are extending our reach to those patients they may be in a position to access first.”
The new Habitat AED is valued at around $1,700. Scott trained Statham-Lardner on Valentine’s Day on how to use the device, provided Habitat with extra AED patches, and explained the maintenance and battery check schedule, which PVH EMS also will take care of each year.
“We have been searching for an AED for years now, and though we pray we will never have to use it, I truly cannot express how much this donation means to our Habitat family—because you are keeping the ones we love safe,” Statham-Lardner said.
Britton said she is still working to get more safety equipment for Habitat, including a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher for every new Fort Collins Habitat homeowner, as part of their home dedication.
“Habitat for Humanity is a great organization we have tried to support over the years,” Main said. “One of the great things about this donation is that the AED will not just serve one job site, but will travel with their team as new homes are being built throughout our community.”