Campaign Brings Life-saving AEDs to Oshkosh's Public Spaces

Oshkosh, known as Wisconsin’s Event City, is getting a whole lot safer with the installation of public access AEDs, or automatic external defibrillators. AEDs administer a controlled electric shock to the chest or heart of a person suffering sudden cardiac arrest to correct his or her life-threatening irregular heartbeat.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, the Oshkosh Fire Department, together with Aurora Health Care, Affinity Health System and ThedaCare, have raised $30,000 toward a $100,000 goal of purchasing and maintaining public AEDs. The fundraising campaign was announced today at ThedaCare’s Community Conversation in Oshkosh.

Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, pulled the committee together that’s launching the campaign. “We know that the university, schools and industry have installed AEDs, but we saw a need to protect people when they are out and about — at the farmer’s market, the Leach Amphitheater, or the zoo.”

Jim Austad, Battalion Chief of Emergency Medical Services with the Oshkosh Fire Department, surveyed the locations of existing AEDs in the community and helped the committee choose the best AED model for members of the public to confidently and comfortably operate. 

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, striking more than 340,000 victims each year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The likelihood of successful resuscitation decreases by 10 percent with every minute that passes.

Healthcare providers like ThedaCare immediately saw the value of joining forces to install AEDs in the community. “We know AEDs save lives. There are several examples now throughout the Valley of people who are around today because AEDs were widely accessible.  By partnering with Affinity and Aurora, we can help ensure that people in the Oshkosh area have speedy access to these life-saving devices," said Paula Morgen, manager of Community Health at ThedaCare.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.