Pastor J.T.Greenleaf shows off the AED unit installed in the Education Building of Redlands First United Methodist Church.

Minutes matter when heart attacks happen. To improve survival chances if a sudden cardiac arrest occurs on site, the First United Methodist Church in Redlands installed Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in four locations.

First United Methodist Church, on the corner of Olive Avenue and Cajon Street in Redlands is a widely used facility and is also a designated disaster shelter for Redlands. The use of AEDs, when combined with chest compressions, is statistically proven to save lives before the paramedics arrive.  The devices which assess heart function and deliver an electric shock, if necessary, to a victim of cardiac arrest.

“While having AEDs benefits our congregation, they could just as likely be used for another community member,” said Lead Pastor J.T. Greenleaf. “For example our church is used as an election polling place, a performance venue for groups like the Inland Master Chorale and every Saturday our shower ministry serves the local homeless population.”

Although the devices are designed to be used by lay people, a simple training program was initially offered after a worship service and will be repeated as needed in the future. 

“The AEDs literally talk you through the process,” said Dustin Fujiwara, church member and Rialto paramedic. “The training helps you know what to expect and provides an opportunity to answer questions.”

The church’s staff Parish Relations Committee conducted a brief and successful fundraising drive to purchase and install the AEDs in four key locations on the church campus.  Each unit was approximately $1,000.  

A fund was also established for maintenance and routine updating of the AEDs. 

“We are grateful that the AEDs will provide an extra measure of care for all who attend worship and other functions in their buildings,” said committee member and retired nurse, Lloy Keeling.

“We hope other churches in Redlands will follow suit to care for their congregations