Georgia Campground Campers Buy Defibrillator
The Jekyll Island Campground located on the Georgia coast is better equipped today for medical emergencies than it was last winter.
That's because a group of 112 campers, who spend their winters on Jekyll to escape northern snow, chipped in to buy a pricey piece of medical equipment, The Brunswick News reported.
Jekyll Island Fire Chief Jason Richardson said the campground is now equipped with an automatic external defibrillator, which can save the life of someone having cardiac arrest or other medical event, he said.
The equipment has a pricetag of about $3,000.
"They do fundraising down here as a group, and they decided to give us something they as a group wanted at the campground," Richardson said.
Tim Worley, a first-time camper from Maine, decided to spearhead the defibrillator purchase after hearing from other campers.
"There's a group here called the Men's Coffee Group. We get together and meet to cure the world's ills," Worley said. "I went there once and they were talking about this defibrillator, and I said, 'I can get behind that.'"
Worley, a retired police officer, got to work filling out forms and getting the proper approvals, and a few fundraisers later, the life-saving machine was purchased.
"It wasn't all me. I just decided to help get the thing going," Worley said.
The campers hold two pancake breakfasts a year and other fundraisers to bolster funds in the Winter Campground Fund, Worley said.
Chief Richardson said the campers and the fund are a great help to the campground, on the north end of the island, and the Jekyll Island Authority's fire department, in the middle of the island.
"Some of the campers have been coming here 16, 18 to 20 years," Richardson said.
The equipment, which is automated and easier to use than a manual defibrillator, is designed to be used by a layperson who does not have full medical training.
Most people with standard CPR training are trained to use the device.
Jekyll Island is a about 15 to 20 minutes from the Brunswick hospital at the Southeast Georgia Health System, and Richardson said the portable defibrillator can be an enormous help if used on a patient immediately.
"Even when our staff leaves the fire station and goes to the campground, if someone has already applied the AED (to a patient), that significantly increases the likelihood of their life being saved," Richardson said.