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Ripon takes aim at heart attacks & saving lives
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Friends of the Ripon Library are stepping up to save lives by making use of 21st century technology.
 They’re beginning with the library’s downtown reading room with the help of the Ripon Fire Department and the Ripon Rotary Club.
There’s three critical minutes between when someone is stricken with a cardiac arrest and someone administering CPR with the added benefit of an automatic emergency defibrillator (AED) to get a heart back into rhythm pumping blood once again to vital organs.
One such piece of equipment can be found in the Ripon Library at the back of the downtown branch. It is complete with simple instructions on its use to shock someone back to life with attached pads in.  Until recently state law required a medical director to be on the scene to supervise its use but that is no longer the case..
Fire Chief Dennis Bitters explained that his office holds CPR classes to insure members of the public know the correct approach when faced with a life and death emergency.  He said he hopes to put one AED in each bank in Ripon’s downtown as well as issuing decals for businesses to put in their windows indicating the presence of the life-saving machine.
A unit is being placed in the Ripon Senior Center in the near future. It is being made possible by several community members and the Ripon Rotary Club. Rotary donated $1,500 and Rotarians Harrison Gibbs and Ralph Meams donated $1,500 and $500 respectively.
The Ripon Quarterback Club also donated $1,500 to the AED cause and an anonymous donor added another $1,500.  The separate units are priced between $500 and $1,200 each, the chief said.  
Chief Bitters noted that Ripon Christian Schools has seven units located in the gym and throughout the school while Ripon Unified has none. He added that the RUSD risk management committee said they were concerned about liability concerns if they provided the AEDs.
Bitters said he is also hoping to provide loaner units through the fire department for use at special events within the  community.
Asked if it would be possible for someone to carry the small AED unit from the library to a nearby business in case of a heart attack occurring in the downtown, Chief Bitters said it would.  It’s important that someone starts CPR immediately if they recognize the heart attack symptoms and a cessation of a person’s pulse.
“That’s why we are still teaching CPR — doing compressions first and someone else can run to get a defibrillator and bring it back to help the victim,” he said.
Bitters said he believes there are more AEDs in the Ripon community than what is known.  He noted that many of the churches have them in their buildings. He also noted that the San Joaquin County of Education has AEDs all through their buildings on Arch Road just north of the Stockton Metropolitan Airport.
The chief added that there is also a need for the AEDs during the downtown Main Street Day celebration and the library is open for that event for easy access.  Bitters said he would like to see an AED placed at the community center in Ripon where people regularly gather.
We would like to develop a map and an app that would go on anyone’s phone so that members of the public can locate available AEDs when they are faced with someone — family or friend — suffering an unexpected heart attack.
“We are all about saving lives,” Bitters said.
Police cars also carry an AED when they are on the street as do the fire department vehicles.
Anyone wishing to donate to the AED cause may to contact the Ripon Fire Department Reserves Association at 142 South Stockton Avenue, Ripon, CA.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email