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Defibrillators installed at city hall after death

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Updated: 1/14 8:24 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- The city is making a big investment to save people who go into cardiac arrest.

It's installing defibrillators throughout city hall and other city buildings. On Dec. 5, 2013, Dr. Chester Aikens collapsed during a pension meeting with the city. Off-duty firefighters rushed to help. A defibrillator was in a back room at city hall.

Fast forward to today, those machines are now visible on every single floor.

"Certainly with the untimely passing, it emphasized the importance of it. It reminded us of things that can happen," said Steve Woodard, the city's Director of Emergency Preparedness.

Woodard tells Action News an assessment on safety and security in city buildings started in 2012 and more defibrillators are one of the recommendations. So we wanted to know why there was a delay.

"Devices had been in some of the buildings, as we reassessed to make improvements," said Woodard.

Eleven machines at roughly $1,800 each were just put all throughout city hall. We're told that's just the beginning. The city plans to buy 42 more to put in the main library, and the Yates and Ed Ball buildings. While we're told the machine wouldn't have saved Dr. Aikens life last month, Woodard is confident they will save lives in the future.

"They're very effective for individuals suffering compared to those that didn't have access," said Woodard.

After Dr. Aikens' death, city employees are also going through CPR training. The city will try to install the 42 additional defibrillators soon. We're told the machines were already in the budget to buy this fiscal year.

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