CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- There are more than 350,000 cases of cardiac arrest in the U.S. every year, and 90 percent of them are fatal.
Mercy Medical Center is trying to prevent these types of tragedies from happening.
They're donating 16 AEDs to schools, churches, and other organizations in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities.
AEDs, also known as automated external defibrillators are easy to operate even for someone without a medical background.
The ones Mercy will donate are fully automated and will prompt a person on the necessary steps to save someone's life.
Usually, when a person is experiencing a cardiac arrest, their heart will begin to beat dangerously fast and they may collapse.
Within minutes, if left untreated, a person could die.
AEDs are portable devices used to shock the heart and restore the body's normal heart rhythm.
"So the device itself has a computer in it, it walks the person through what they need to do and then if the person needs their heart to be shocked, it will shock the heart and then it will tell the rescuers to resume CPR or if it goes back to normal rhythm it will say stop," says Melissa Cullum, with Mercy Medical Center's Community Benefit and Patient Relations.
AEDs can cost thousands of dollars, but Mercy has already donated 51 devices to schools, churches, and organizations with a financial need since the AED Donation Program started in 2014.
Harrison Elementary School tells us their building doesn't have an AED so they wanted to have one on hand in case they ever do have an emergency.
The school says once they receive their AED from Mercy, they'll place it in a public area outside the gym so it's easy to access.
Harrison Elementary School will have a team of staff members trained to use the AED in case there is ever an emergency.
Lydia Quaid, the School's nurse says although it's not as common, cardiac arrest can still happen to a young student.
"A lot of times if an incident like that were to occur it might be something that was previously un-diagnosed and totally unexpected so this way we can get an AED connected within a matter of minutes and start those interventions in a faster way," says Quaid.
Harrison Elementary School will be receiving their AED at 1:00 p.m.
Presentation of the AEDs will take place at the following times and locations in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities:
Thursday, Nov. 30:
1. 9:30 a.m. - Cleveland Elementary, 2200 First Ave, CR 52405
2. 10:30 a.m. - Harvest Christian Day Care, 4070 22nd Avenue SW, CR 52404
3. 1 p.m. - Harrison Elementary, 1310 11th Street NW, CR 52405
4. 4 p.m. - St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 915 27th Street, Marion 52302
Friday, Dec. 1:
5. 8:30 a.m. - Springs of Life Foursquare Church, 2300 26th St. NW, CR 52405
6. 9:30 a.m. - Madison Elementary, 1341 Woodside Dr NW, CR 52405
7. 10:15 a.m. - Garfield Elementary, 1201 Maplewood Dr. NE, CR 52402
Monday, Dec. 11:
8. 9 a.m. - All Saints Elementary School, 720 28th Street SE, CR 52403
9. 9:45 a.m. - Johnson Elementary, 355 18th Street SE, CR 52403
10. 10:30 a.m. - Hoover Elementary, 4141 Johnson Ave NW, CR 52405
11. 11:45 a.m. - Center Point United Methodist Church, 815 Summit St., Center Point 52213
12. 1 p.m. - Hope United Church of Christ, 150 9th Avenue, Hiawatha 52233
13. 2 p.m. - Horizons, A Family Service Alliance, 819 5th Street SE, CR 52401
14. 3:30 p.m. - Gospel Tabernacle Church of Jesus Christ, 2531 42nd Street NE, CR 52402
15. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 857 3rd Ave SE, CR 52403
16. HACAP, 1550 Hawkeye Dr., Hiawatha 52233
Additionally, Mercy gave Marion Independent School District a matching grant of $2,500 to replace old AEDs.
Mercy is partnering with ThinkSafe, based in Cedar Rapids, to make the AEDs available for donation.
According to the American Heart Association, SCA kills more people every year than strokes, AIDS and breast cancer. A key to fighting SCA is defibrillation (use of an AED) within a very short period of time from the onset of SCA.