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Lindsay pushes to speed access to defibrillators

Finding one of 700 defibrillators in Suffolk County should be as easy as checking if a store takes American Express, Presiding Officer William Lindsay said Monday.

Lindsay (D-Holbrook) is pushing legislation that would integrate the county's existing database of portable automated external defibrillators with its 911 call center and post stickers on doors of establishments that host the machines noting that one is inside.

"There's about 700 of them around the county now," Lindsay said. "The problem is, unless you have the spreadsheet, you don't know where they are."

His three-pronged proposal would also direct the county's information technology department to investigate creating a mobile phone application so people can instantly check the location of the nearest defibrillator. The proposal will go before the Health and Human Services committee in March.

"Most of our ambulance companies do their best, but response time is still nine or 10 minutes," Lindsay said. "If you're in cardiac arrest, you're dead with that amount of time."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy supports Lindsay's proposals, said his spokesman, Dan Aug.

New York law requires defibrillators in schools, state-owned buildings, health clubs with more than 500 members, and places where 1,000 or more people gather. They cost between $900 and $1,800 and require training to operate by state law.

Lindsay, who helped businesses in downtown Sayville purchase five defibrillators, said he hopes his idea spreads beyond Suffolk.

"Hopefully we'll develop some kind of sticker that I hope becomes a universal thing," he said. "I hope this catches on."

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