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a lifesaving donation

a group of people watching a defibrillator demonstration
BCHS Board Directors and Volunteers participate in AED training with instructor Holly Bannor.

Beltrami County Historical Society received the donation of an automated external defibrillator at its Board of Directors meeting in February from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. The donation was made possible due to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Trust grant awarded to the University of Minnesota Medical School to help fund the purchase of 41 automated external defibrillators for the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office earlier in February.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart to treat cardiac arrest. Studies suggest that survival from cardiac arrest greatly increases when bystanders use an AED. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, almost 17% of all deaths in Minnesota are due to heart disease.

Before the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office's donation, the Historical Society did not have an AED on the premises. “While we recognized the importance of making a defibrillator available at the History Center in case of emergencies, they are cost prohibitive,” shares Emily Thabes, Executive Director. “We are grateful for the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office partnership ensuring the ongoing safety of our volunteers and visitors.”

As part of their agreement with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office to assume responsibility for the AED, Historical Society staff, board members, and volunteers completed AED training with Holly Bannor, American Heart Association Instructor with Bemidji State University, at the March board meeting. Participants learned how an automated external defibrillator operates and watched a demonstration of the device in action on a training mannequin.

For more information about the complete Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course for persons who want to be prepared for an emergency in any setting, please check out the schedule and fees on the Bemidji Parks/Recreation website.

Thank you again to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office for supporting life-saving technology in our community!

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