Dunwoody city officials are looking into requiring the installation of devices to treat heart attacks in public areas such as high-rise buildings, hotels or office complexes.

Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall proposed during the council’s March 10 meeting that the city look into requiring that automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, be installed in public gathering places.

“This is where Dunwoody can take the lead,” Nall said.

The devices are installed on all Dunwoody police cars and have saved at least five lives in the city, Nall said.

Other council members agreed to explore whether to require some businesses to install the devices. “I like the idea,” Councilman John Heneghan said. “It’s just a matter of getting them into the right buildings.”

But other council members questioned the notion the city should require the devices.

“I’m just flat against making this mandatory,” Mayor Mike Davis said.

Councilman Jim Riticher said he was “nervous about requiring it for any number of philosophical and practical reasons.”

And Councilman Doug Thompson said the devices need maintenance and that people would have to be trained to use them.

“This is a hard issue for me,” Thompson said. “I am firm believer that AEDs save lives, … but it’s not as simple as we require businesses to hang one on the wall and then pat ourselves on the back. … Training is the thing. Do we want to require businesses to buy them [maintain them and train employees to use them]? Do we want to go that far in regulating our businesses?  … I urge us to travel slowly and make sure things are done properly.”

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Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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