Access to lifesaving device a concern for some towns


A kid on a recreation field is hit by a ball and his heart stops. A jogger suddenly drops from an apparent heart attack.

As critical moments tick away before police arrive, onlookers try to help. And increasingly on North Jersey’s playing fields, they can assume there’s an automated defibrillator somewhere nearby to use.

But where is it? Is it under lock and key?

And who’s allowed to use it?

Answering those questions is a concern facing almost every community, as defibrillators are rapidly being acquired for public places, including athletic fields. The problem: The lifesaving devices cost anywhere from $850 to $3,000, and if they’re openly accessible, they could be stolen or vandalized. Using them could also put a life-and-death crisis, literally, in the public’s hands.

And yet, if they’re not available, a life could be lost.

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