South Carolina state parks getting heart defibrillators

A state park ranger shows off a donated defibrillator.

Almost half of South Carolina’s state parks are now equipped with heart defibrillators, through a combination of donations and funding from the state.

As of last week, the life-saving portable devices were in 22 of the 47 properties, said Duane Parrish, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The “automated external defibrillators,” or AEDs, were put in the busiest locations first.

Locally, Charlestowne Landing State Historic Site, Edisto Beach State Park and Hampton Plantation State Historic Site already have them. Parrish expects the devices will be available in all state parks in a couple years.

The agency paid $9,200 for six AEDs seven years ago, according to a spokeswoman. The rest have been donated. Roper St. Francis, for example, provided the AEDs for Charlestowne Landing in West Ashley and Hampton Plantation in McClellanville.

Park rangers are trained on how to use the defibrillators and how to do CPR, Parrish said. They’re also trained in visitor safety and first aid.

Parrish said more public places will get the devices as they come down in price and are “more readily available.”

“We’re just trying to stay with that trend,” he said.

The defibrillators that have been deployed have not been used in a real-life stuation .

“We haven’t had the need for them yet. ... That’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s nice to know it’s there if need be.”

Reach Allison Prang at 843-937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.