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Dorset gets life-saving defibrillator

Bruce Wizik donated an Automated External Defibillator to Dorset. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The tiny village of Dorset is now armed with an Automated External Defibrillator in case someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest just off the Heartland Trail.

The AED was donated by Bruce Wizik, who has ties to the area through his sister, Sally Wizik-Wills, owner of Sister Wolf Books. He wanted to make sure the AED was in place by Memorial Day weekend when the area starts to boom with tourists.

An AED saved Bruce's life and he wanted to make Dorset a safer place to be with the addition of the device.

Bruce was bicycling in the Twin Cities with family on a hot September day in 2008.

"I made it to the end of the trail and then didn't feel well and collapsed," he said.

The Republican National Convention was in town and extra manpower was on duty throughout the city, Bruce recalled.

"Someone grabbed a defibrillator and began using it. The third time was the charm," he said.

Since that event, Bruce has been speaking to groups about cardiac arrest and teaching others how to use CPR and defibrillators.

"The odds are a fourth of the population will witness a cardiac arrest sometime in your life," he said. "Only about 5 percent survive an arrest."

While visiting Dorset to donate the AED, Bruce taught business owners how to use the device and perform CPR. Dorset's AED will be located at La Pasta.

If someone is unresponsive, Bruce said the first thing to do is to designate a specific person to call 911 and have another person get the AED. Then, begin chest compressions.

"An ambulance can't get to Dorset in 10 minutes and that timeframe is key in keeping someone alive," Bruce said.

An AED speaks to the person using it to make it simple. It often takes more than one shock to work.

The AED that was donated to Dorset costs between $1,000 and $2,000. Bruce won the device at a banquet and knew right away he should donate it to Dorset.

"I hope you never have to use it," he told the Dorset business owners.

As a thank you for donating the defibrillator, Bruce was presented with an honorary key to Dorset by Compañeros owner Rick Kempnich.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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