Registered nurse, fire dept. volunteer and mother say devices key in lifesaving

(Nov. 29, 2019) Registered nurse and local business owner Jodi Renner made an emotional plea to the mayor and city council last Monday to install more public automated external defibrillators (AED) throughout the resort.

“I’m a registered nurse, an EMT … I currently volunteer at the Ocean City Fire Department … and I am the mother of a genetic heart patient. Therefore keeping people safe and alive is my priority” Renner said. “I am here because I have concerns related to the insufficient placement of AEDs throughout our Ocean City community.”

Several years ago on the Fourth of July, Renner was working on the Boardwalk when a man collapsed and appeared to be in cardiac arrest. 

Renner asked around for a defibrillator, expecting to find one with ease in a resort that sees nearly 8 million people a year, but was told there were none nearby. 

“That shocked me,” she said.

Renner said although Ocean City Fire and Emergency Services have extraordinary response times, extenuating circumstances, such as holiday beach crowds, could slow down aid and result in a fatality. 

“This is a standard in community care and I am working with the fire department on an action plan to rectify this,” Renner said. 

She said that her talks with the fire department are in the preliminary stages, and no specific actions or plans have been instituted.

However, she said following Thanksgiving week, she would meet with Fire Chief Richie Bowers to discuss possible solutions in detail. 

In addition to the defibrillators, Renner voiced her support for Councilwoman Mary Knight’s efforts to address the lack of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EpiPen) in private and public locations. 

On Thursday, Oct. 24, Ocean City resident and active community member Chris Trimper, 42, died from a severe shellfish allergy while dining out.

Maryland is one of 14 states that does not have a law that allows private and public entities to carry and administer Epinephrine during emergencies.

In response, Knight asked the mayor and council earlier this month to send a letter to state lawmakers urging them to introduce “Chris’ Law” that would allow for the lifesaving device. 

“Once passed into law [Chris’ Law], I would like to see stations the community can access,” Renner said. 

She also mentioned public access to Narcan, but acknowledged that public access to the overdose treatment would be extremely difficult to implement. 

“This is the trifecta of lifesaving tools and medicine related to quick patient-down community response, and are necessary for life saves at a very high level. These tools are directly related to preventable death.

“Chris’ Law is just the beginning. Let us keep his legacy while trailblazing in his name for Ocean City,” Renner said. 

Mayor Rick Meehan thanked Renner for her message, and encouraged her to return to the council with a gameplan. 

“That was a powerful statement,” Meehan said. “I look forward to you coming back before us with Chief Bowers to make recommendations and let us get involved and help you. We need to get the business community involved as well .. and hopefully we can make a difference.”

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