Paramedic wants to make automated external defibrillators easier to find in Cleveland

Posted at 6:45 AM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 06:45:18-05

Walk into public buildings and fire extinguishers are pretty easy to find. That's usually not the case for automated external defibrillators, which are sometimes needed to save someone's life if they're in cardiac arrest.

Paramedic Timothy Sommerfelt says defibrillators may not be close by when you need them because it's not necessary for a building to pass inspection.

A quick look at the Pulse Point app, telling you where defibrillators are, show there are big gaps in parts of the city.

That's why Timothy is trying to raise enough money to put up one or two defibrillators around Gordon Square, covering people at Capitol Theater, walking along Detroit Avenue, or even just out for a stroll. He already gives CPR classes and part of that training is to get a defibrillator as quickly as possible.

"It's a numbers game," said Sommerfelt. "You might put up 50 AED's just to have one be in just the right place at the just the right time for someone who needs it."

He says a person having a cardiac arrest who doesn't get treated suffers irreversible brain damage in four to six minutes.

Even the fastest EMT response times can't beat that. 

"Having something like a defibrillator or AED, we believe that is something like a catalyst for creating community," said Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Safety and Community Engagement Coordinator Jeremy Taylor.

Timothy says the goal is to be an inspiration for other parts of the city to put in defibrillators, just like they already have fire extinguishers. 

If you'd like more information about Timothy's efforts, visit