PENDLETON — Randy Miller does not remember April 28, 2013, but it was a date that almost became etched on his tombstone.
“All I know is what people tell me happened,” Miller said. “I don’t have any memory of it.”
Miller, 65, was sitting around a table with his wife and son after a long day at an auction when he suddenly collapsed.
His heart stopped.
His breathing followed.
Each minute after that became moments between life and death.
Miller’s wife, Sarah, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and 911 was called, but living in a rural part of Madison County meant it would take time for help to respond.
The events that would eventually help to save Miller’s life actually began 12 years before that fateful night on April 28.
In 2001, Madison County S.A.V.E.S. (Supporting Activities of Vital Emergency Services) was discussed within the community.
Within a year, it would be created through Community Hospital Anderson and the Community Hospital Anderson Foundation would help to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Madison County Sheriff’s Department vehicles, schools, libraries and businesses throughout the community.
An AED helped to save Miller’s life.
There are now 102 AEDs in Madison County and Holly Renz, a registered nurse and the program director for S.A.V.E.S., said the devices make a difference.
“For every minute you are without an AED you reduce your chance of survival by 10 percent,” she said. “In 10 minutes you are dead.”
Most of the emergency responders in the rural portion of the county are volunteers, Renz said, which means response times can be longer. Equipping the sheriff deputy vehicles with the equipment increases the likelihood a person can be saved with an AED.
The AEDs installed in public places such as schools, government sites and businesses are also available for the public to use in the event of an emergency.