The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks plans to place donated defibrillators at its five regional parks and at its soccer arena in North Point, said department director Robert J. Barrett. He said that the step is part of a safety program launched after the death last summer of a 4-year-old boy whose heart stopped after he was struck in the chest with a baseball at an adult amateur league game in Lutherville.
Baltimore County also purchased 22 defibrillators for $42,000 for its senior centers in the last budget cycle, and there are more than a dozen at other county-owned facilities, said Brown, of the county's Fire Department. The county encourages businesses to buy their own units through a discount program called Project Heartbeat, which Brown, of the county Fire Department, directs.
"The goal is to save people's lives, of all ages," he said.
And, he said, they already have. Last month, a Fire Department captain stepped out of a fire truck and collapsed. A nearby medic unit was able to use a defibrillator to revive him. Earlier in the fall, a Hereford High School student suffered cardiac arrest during class. School staff administered CPR until a medic arrived with a defibrillator.
"It was a short enough period of time that she had a full recovery," Brown said.
Ferguson, from the Anne Arundel County schools, said she believes in the future it won't be unusual to have defibrillators in schools. "I think one of these days they're going to be like fire extinguishers," she said.
Sun reporter Sara Neufeld contributed to this article.