rotary

Murrells Inlet Community Center Manager Tonya Hodge is pictured with Rotary Club representatives Johnny Moore, left, Collin Jewell, center, and Eric Gray during a dedication ceremony for one of the new AEDs.

The Murrells Inlet Community Center and the MarshWalk are both safer this month, thanks to a donation from the Murrells Inlet Rotary Club.

On Oct. 29, the group donated four automated external defibrillators, better known as AEDs to Georgetown County Parks and Recreation to be installed in public places.

One has been installed at the Community Center and the other three will go in prominent locations at the MarshWalk.

AEDs are lightweight, portable devices that deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially restore a regular heartbeat in cases of sudden cardiac arrest. The devices offer voice instructions, allowing people with no training to administer aid immediately, and saving lives.

Having one nearby if a person’s heart stops can dramatically improve the chances of survival. According to the American Heart Association, a victim’s chance of survival drops y 7-10 percenr for every minute that passes without the restoration of a normal heartbeat.

The club spent about $7,000 to purchase the devices, said Eric Gray, a club member and Assistant Governor for Rotary District 7770 Area 9.

The county is grateful for the donation, and the Community Center and MarshWalk are ideal locations for AEDs, said Beth Goodale, County Director of Parks and Recreation.

“There’s something going on here seven days a week,” Goodale said during a dedication ceremony for the new device at the Community Center. “On any given morning, we have 40 to 60 ladies here doing fitness classes, then there are events into the night.”

The MarshWalk, which runs along the inlet behind some of the community’s most popular waterfront restaurants, is constantly buzzing with activity.

The Club is also looking at purchasing two more devices to be installed at boat landings.

Installation of AEDs is an activity that has been taken on by Rotary Clubs countywide, beginning with the Andrews Club in 2016. In 2017, the Georgetown Rotary Clubs got on board and the Pawleys Island Club followed. Though the Inlet Club is the last to begin installations, there was some benefit to that, Gray said.

For example, prices have decreased and the technology has improved, making it easier to install devices in outdoor locations, such as the MarshWalk, and more affordable to install more devices in more locations.

To find AEDs wherever you are, download the AED Registry app on your phone. It shows nearby AEDs. Many of the devices shown at public facilities across Georgetown County are the result of donations from county Rotary Clubs.