Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our AED has arrived! Safety First.....Always!

Now, who in their right mind would go to the expense of buying something, hoping they never will use it? I mean, we're talking about a large expenditure of "cash-ola" on an item that, well, one could debate as . . . not necessary!

Well, we would. Are we addled? Has being "in love" turned our brains to mush? Do we not care what we do with our hard-earned money? A resounding "NO" to all of those questions!

Brian and I have just purchased an Automated External Defibrillator, and Schooner Isaac H. Evans now bears the distinction of being the first and only boat in the Maine windjammer fleet to be equipped with an AED. Designed to allow non-medical personnel to save lives, an AED is used to administer an electric shock to a person who is having a cardiac arrest. A person is said to be in sudden cardiac arrest when his or her heart's normal rhythm suddenly becomes chaotic and the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. SCA victims collapse, stop breathing, become unresponsive, and have no detectable pulse. Two pads, connected to the AED, are placed on the patient's chest. A computer inside the AED analyzes the patient's heart rhythm and determines if a shock is required to save the victim. If so, the AED supplies voice instructions to guide the user step-by-step through the procedure necessary to save the person's life, administering an electric shock that restores the heart's rhythm to normal. Many of you may think that only elderly people are likely to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Although the risk of SCA increases with age and in people with heart problems, a large percentage of victims are people with no known risk factors, including children, teenagers, and athletes. The American Heart Association strongly supports having AEDs in public areas and advocates that all police, fire, and rescue vehicles be equipped with an AED.

Visit http://www.aednow.com/FAQ.cfm for answers to frequently asked questions about AEDs.

Visit http://www.aednow.com/aeddemo.cfm for a demonstration of an AED similar to ours.

In addition to our new AED, there are other safety concerns for which the crew of the Evans is well-prepared. We receive training (or re-training) in CPR and First Aid before the beginning of the sailing season. Man-overboard drills and fire-drills are practiced repeatedly by the entire crew before they set sail for the first cruise, and then periodically throughout the season. Procedures for possible emergency evacuation are planned and discussed with all crew members, and the life raft and all fire extinguishers are serviced or replaced. For the last several years, US Coast Guard inspectors have pronounced the Evans' First Aid Kit to be the most organized and adequately stocked of all the boats in the fleet. Of course, the schooner is equipped with life jackets, life rings, radar, GPS, and an EPIRB as well. What's an EPIRB, you ask? The initials stand for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. If something were to happen to the boat, this device would send a signal to the Coast Guard, aircraft, and anyone else who may be looking for us to tell them where we are.

And let me not forget to mention our cannon! This beautiful brass item is not only picturesque, it is a very important safety measure...we use it to scare away scurvy pirates and keep them from coming aboard to harm us!

Well, that gives you a pretty good idea of much of the safety equipment aboard, but more important than a list of do-hickeys and gizmos, is the feeling of assurance you can have that you are in very capable hands when sailing with our crew aboard the Isaac H. Evans. Each day, when we plan the possible itinerary, we consider the winds, the tides, the depth of water at various anchorages, and other navigational factors to ensure your safety, as well as to provide you with glorious scenery and a memorable sailing adventure.

An AED is an unnecessary expense? Not to us. The US Coast Guard may not require it, but to our way of thinking, your health and well-being are top priority. We just hope that there will never be an occasion when it will have to be used!