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Medina Lake VFD receives grant for defibrillators

Special to the Courier

Administrators with the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative present an $18,920 grant to Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of 13 automated external defibrillators. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left, are Zeda Alvarado, BEC director; Charles Robbins, MLVFD firefighter and paramedic; Greg Spengler, VFD president; Bill Hetherington, BEC CEO-general manager; Ben L. Hicks III, VFD fire chief; and Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member.

The Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department will buy 13 new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) thanks to an $18,920 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative.
The purchase of the AEDs will allow the department’s licensed medics to keep defibrillators in their first-response bags instead of having to share the fire department’s lone defibrillator housed at the fire station.
“Placing an AED with each medic will make a huge difference in the level of care we can provide and our response time,” said Charles Robbins, a Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department firefighter and first responder. “The fire department currently possesses just one defibrillator that is part of a piece of rescue equipment we keep at the fire station,” he continued. “Volunteers have to make judgment calls about the potential need for a defibrillator when they receive an emergency call, and then factor into their response time the additional minutes it will take to retrieve the AED from the fire station.”
Members of the MLVFD perform firefighting functions, participate in a state-licensed medical first responder program and serves 43 square miles of the most densely populated area of Bandera County. The new AEDs are essential for a Rural-Rapid Access Defibrillation Program the fire department created to respond to medical needs, which constitute the majority of emergency calls in the fire department’s service area.
Without a hospital in Bandera County, travel time to a hospital by ambulance can take 30 to 45 minutes, which makes AEDs a vital piece of equipment for the medics responding to cardiac emergencies for area residents and travelers, Robbins said.
“The Rural-Rapid Access Defibrillation Program is critical to the survival and improved outcome of cardiac arrest victims,” he said. “I’m thrilled our first responders have these AEDs, and it feels good to know you have the tools you need to revive someone when minutes really do matter.”
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bandera Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
The 22 grants awarded in the first round of 2016 totaled $534,033. Since 1995, LCRA and its wholesale customers have awarded more than 1,500 community grants worth more than $42.6 million.
Applications for the next round of grants are due July. 31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.