Increasing the Distribution of Defibrillators in Door County

AED DefibrillatorIf you have ever had or known someone who has had a heart-attack, you know timing and resources are everything. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Fondation, some 350,000 cardiac arrest (OHCA) cases occur each year outside of a hospital, and between 70 and 90 percent of people who experience OHCA die before reaching a hospital. More than 70 emergency calls to 9-1-1 in Door County during 2021 involved cardiac arrest patients.

Quickly shocking the heart of a cardiac arrest patient with an AED (automatic external defibrillators) can help save their life.

“We know that a defibrillation delivered by an AED and CPR make a critical difference in helping cardiac arrest patients before an ambulance arrives, especially in a rural area like Door County,” said Door County Emergency Services Director Aaron LeClair. “Making AEDs more accessible and part of our public safety culture will help save lives.”

Door County Medical Center has partnered with Defibs4DoorCounty to make AED’s more accessible to organizations and businesses working with the public in Door County.

What is an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)?

AED DefibrillatorAED’s are portable life-saving devices that can save the life of someone experiencing cardiac arrest before an ambulance is able to arrive.

An AED detects the rhythm of a person’s heart. If an abnormal rhythm is detected, an AED will be used to deliver an electrical shock or defibrillation, which then will restart the heart. The device will come with instructions on how to administer the device and also how to do CPR. 


Defibs4DoorCounty, established by the The Door County Fire Chiefs Association, has recognized the need for more AEDs in our community. An anonymous $75,000 donation and matching challenge from a local donor was the catalyst for the fundraising campaign that runs now through Labor Day. 

If the public fundraising goal of $75,000 is met, the total amount of $150,000 would add approximately 80 new AEDs to Door County’s current inventory. Along with providing new units to law, fire and EMS responders, wall cabinets with AEDs would be available to schools, places of worship, and businesses and venues that frequently attract large crowds.

Any Door County business or organization that attracts a crowd can submit applications for new, not replacement, defibrillators through at this time.

“Access to a defibrillator means that first responders or even bystanders can begin a key life-saving step before an ambulance arrives,” said Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht, who is also head of the Door County Fire Chiefs Association. “While not a replacement for calling 9-1-1, it allows patient treatment to start immediately.”

Signs of a heart attack

Chest pain, pressure or tightness in center of chest

  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Short of breath
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Pain that spreads to shoulder, jawline, back, neck or arm

It is very important to administer CPR or use an AED as quickly as possible. For every minute that passes during a heart attack when CPR or an AED is not administered, survival decreases 7-10 percent. If you are able to use an AED within 60-90 seconds your survival rate increases by 90 percent.

What to do if a heart attack occurs

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Sit or lie down
  • Remove or unbutton any tight clothing
  • Stay calm
  • If prescribed, take nitroglycerin
  • If person is unconscious, begin CPR
  • If an AED is available this would be the time to use it (follow directions carefully)

How you can help

The public can help meet the challenge by making donations at, in-person at local North Shore Bank and Nicolet National Bank branches and at any Door County fire station. Checks should be made payable to Defibs4DoorCounty. You can also donate by mail simply by filling out the form on Please make checks payable to “Defibs4DoorCounty”. Fundraiser is open now through Labor Day.

CPR trainingInterested in training on CPR and AEDs? The Defibs4DoorCounty campaign is partnering with the Compress & Shock Foundation on this year’s CPR & AED Education Day on May 21, 2022 by offering two free training classes. The practical, hands-on training is designed to give the public a basic level of comfort with CPR and automatic external defibrillator (AED) devices.

  • Open to the public ages 13 and up.

  • Pre-registration for classes is required and space is limited. Register at

  • Classes are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., and each class lasts 60-75 minutes.

  • Located at the Sister Bay Fire Station, 2258 Mill Road, Sister Bay

Additionally, CPR and AED training are being offered for a small fee through Sister Bay and Liberty Grove Fire Department.

Finally, June 1-7 each year is National CPR and AED Awareness Week, spotlighting how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED. Watch for more information to share to help this effort.

Published 5/9/2022 6:00:00 AM
Tags: Awareness, community health, first responders, heart, heart-attack, news

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