Merrill Baseball Association makes Athletic Park a little safer
BY TINA L. SCOTT
What if someone goes into cardiac arrest at Merrill’s Athletic Park? While one hopes that would never be the case, it’s something many area businesses and even recreational facilities are prepared for, by investing in Automated External Defibrillator (AED) systems accessible to the public in an emergency. You’ve probably seen one mounted on the wall at a local business or church without thinking anything about it. But they could save a life in an emergency.
At Merrill’s Athletic Park, an AED unit was on-site, but was originally stored in the concession stand, which is normally locked. “Throughout the spring and summer, many teams use the facility without having access to the concession stand which could be a problem if someone is experiencing cardiac arrest,” said Josh Klug, Vice President of the Merrill Baseball Association.
Klug is also the Fire Chief at the Merrill Fire Department and knows how important access to AED can be.
At a Baseball Association board meeting this past spring, Klug explained the need for having a truly accessible AED. It didn’t take long for the board to unanimously approve the purchase of an all-weather outdoor enclosure enabling the AED to be relocated to the outside of the building so it is accessible to anyone during an emergency.
“After last NFL season’s cardiac arrest incident with Damar Hamlin, it just made sense to get this cabinet so our AED would be available to users of the park,” said Shawn Schultz, Merrill Baseball Association President and Merrill Varsity Head Coach.
The $900 investment in the specialized cabinet, which includes a security feature to prevent theft and tampering, is an investment that could save a life. To gain access to the cabinet, a user must first call 9-1-1 to report the medical emergency at the park. While emergency medical services are being dispatched to the location, the dispatcher will also provide the caller with the code to open the AED cabinet so that the device can immediately be used to help the person in cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of the ambulance.
The cabinet also features a heater to keep the AED battery from being drained and a light.
“Now that the AED cabinet has been installed at Athletic Park, other organizations are jumping onboard with the idea,” the Merrill Baseball Association said. “Merrill Fastpitch groups are combining funds to pay for one by the ball diamonds at the Merrill Area Recreational Complex (MARC). Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) will be installing an AED cabinet at Jay Stadium which is used for football, soccer, and track & field.”
“We are proud to help keep all of our athletes, coaches, and fans safe while attending beautiful Athletic Park,” Schultz said.
The Merrill Baseball Association would like to thank the supporters of their program who fundraise each year through various events, they said. They would also like to thank the Merrill Fire Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for their support of the AED cabinet project.