When someone suffers cardiac arrest, the first few minutes are critical in whether that person will survive. In many areas of Wallowa County, an ambulance is 10 to 20 minutes away or more, often too long to successfully treat a heart attack victim.

Rotary Club of Wallowa County President Dick Burch, however, has implemented a solution to speeding up response to someone suffering major heart problems.

As part of his president's project with Rotary, Burch has organized fund-raisers to place nearly a dozen Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the county. The devices dramatically increase the chances of survival for anyone who suffers cardiac arrest. Burch also has been making sure people in the businesses and offices where the AEDs have been strategically placed are trained to use them. He held a first aid and CPR class over the weekend in Enterprise and has scheduled another for early April. Aside from being open to anyone in the public seeking a first aid and CPR card, Rotary is paying the class fee for some of the people who work in close proximity to the AEDs.

The devices aren't cheap. Rotary has raised thousands of dollars to pay for and maintain the life-saving equipment.

Burch's efforts and the help from others involved in Project Heartbeat are just one of the things that make Wallowa County such a great place.

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