Ameren Illinois installs AEDs to crew trucks

An initiative made by Ameren Illinois for its employees is making its way to Galesburg.

Ameren Illinois employees are trained in first aid, CPR and automated external defibrillator, or AED, use.

Working in rural, remote areas, precious time can be wasted waiting on a first responder in the event of an emergency.

Ameren Illinois Director of Safety, Karen Boulanger (BULL-ON-JAY) tells WGIL that the issue really hit home in 2014 at Ameren’s Mt. Vernon facility. She said, “One of our coworkers did go into cardiac arrest. Fortunately at the time he was at the operating center and we had an AED in the facility. And his coworkers, who were trained on CPR and AED use, responded until the first responders could get there. He was able to make a full recovery. So it has hit home for us. We are frequently in remote areas, in communities were the need is high.”

Ameren Illinois front-line employees were brought together a year ago and reevaluated their AED policies and safety initiatives.

A proposal was put together to equip user-friendly and easily-maintained AEDs in crew trucks. The proposal was approved, and 239 Ameren trucks were equipped in May.

Boulanger, says that the user-friendly devices even provide verbal instructions step-by-step.

Now, should an Ameren Illinois crew member encounter an emergency in a rural area the AED could potentially save a life – waiting for a first-responder to get to the scene could take considerable time.

Ameren Illinois Chairman and President Richard Mark said, “There are inherent dangers in keeping the lights on and the natural gas flowing, this is a step we are taking to ensure the health and safety of our field personnel.”

According to the American Heart Association, people who go into cardiac arrest while at work have only a 5-7 percent chance of survival when an AED is not present.