Sophomore Recognizes Need for AED: Raising Money to Buy One

Andrew Fuller is raising money to buy at least one defibrillator for Fairfield’s beaches. He said he decided to start this project because he has learned how critical they can be during cardiac arrest.

“I hear all these stories about people dying from sudden cardiac arrest, and I’m like, ‘But if these devices are available, why are people dying?” he said. “It’s simple. It’s because there’s very few of them to be found.”

Fuller said he got his emergency medical responder certification while in remote learning last year — the only emergency medical course he can take for his age.

He learned automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, have a very high success rate with heart attacks that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

Defibrillators are easy to use, Fuller said. The units will give instructions to the user and analyze heart rhythms to determine if it is needed.

Fuller recently got a position with Greenwich EMS. As an EMR, he can do most things an EMT can, except for administering medication.

“My dad was a paramedic years ago, and I’ve always been sort of an adrenaline junkie,” he said. “Science has always fascinated me. I don’t like not having an answer, and I feel like science is an answer to a lot of things. I’ve always found medicine fascinating because there’s so much you can do with it.”

By working to install a defibrillator at the beach, Fuller said, he might be able to save someone’s relative, friend or neighbor. He said the project is part of an independent study he is taking at Warde, which allowed him to use some school resources and contacts.

Fuller reached out to Deputy Chief Kyran Dunn to see what places had AEDs and which might need one. Through that, he learned Fairfield’s beaches do not have a defibrillator when there is not a lifegaurd on duty.

 “I contacted Parks and Recreation, because that’s where I decided I wanted to put one,” he said. “It’s based off the fact that’s there’s a lot of people there when there isn’t a lifeguard there — and emergency services to get there can take up to 15 to 20 minutes, which can decrease your likelihood of survival by up to 200 percent.”

After presenting his idea to the Parks and Recreation Commission, Fuller said, he was given approval. He will buy more defibrillators if he raises enough money, but said he is prioritizing getting one for Jennings Beach first because of the amount of traffic and events there.  He said his goal is to purchase one and have it installed by the middle of May.

“I’ve done a fundraiser with Garden Catering,” he said. “We are currently doing one with Saugatuck Sweets. I just finished one that was selling Valentine’s Day surprise bags for people, and we’re doing one with Panera and Little Pub in the future.”

Fuller said Parks and Recreation will help him install the devices, and will take care of their maintenance.

Fuller said he does not like to see problems that are easily solved remain unsolved — and that is what makes his project important.

Written by:  Joshua Labella, Hearst Connecticut Media

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