MECHANICSBURG – The Mechanicsburg Fire Department received an automated external defibrillator training unit July 24 from a local car dealership.
White’s Ford in Urbana, 1246 N. Main St., presented Mechanicsburg Assistant Fire Chief/EMS Chief Steve Castle with the training equipment as part of a program in which the dealership sponsored the department. White’s Auto Group President Jeff White and sales manager Ben Charles presented the equipment to Castle.
Zach Doran, director of dealer services for the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, said through the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation grants are awarded to car dealerships throughout the country. Doran explained that one of the programs provides CPR manikins for organizations that need them to train people.
The cost of these manikins can retail between $750 to $1,500.
“Organizations that need these units to train people on how to do CPR typically just don’t have the budgets to accommodate buying new units,” Doran said. “What they do is they apply for a grant through their local auto dealer and then the auto dealer can sponsor that organization in order to receive one of those grants.”
Castle said he learned about the charitable foundation 20 years ago when he was a chairman for the Champaign County Red Cross.
Doran said Castle contacted the association to see if the program was available, leading to White’s Ford sponsoring the department. In 2014, Doran said, the association conducted 18 deliveries of equipment to dealerships across the state.
“The program is available nationally and then the charitable foundation allocates the grants to the states according to the membership,” Doran stated. “One of the things that we’ve tried to do – because the state association administers the program on behalf of the charitable foundation – is try to make sure that we maxed out that program. I think that if you would talk to the folks at the charitable foundation you’ll see that Ohio is pretty high on the list of getting these grants out and making sure they actually hit the organizations that need them.”
In addition to doing in-house training for fire and EMS personnel, Castle said the department also likes to provide CPR training classes for the public. Combined with CPR training he conducts at Honeywell, Castle estimated he personally trains between 150 and 200 people a year.
Castle said acquiring the $1,500 manikin helps the department’s training budget and expands on training capabilities as the manikins provide a hands-on approach to learning.
“There’s no way we could’ve afforded to acquire something like this on our budget,” Castle said. He noted two years ago the department received training equipment through a state grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety including a $5,500 manikin.