Several community centers are preparing for the summer by making sure kids are safe and healthy.

Every year, an estimated 7,000 children die from sudden cardiac arrest.

According to health officials at Erlanger, if an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, is used within a minute, the chance of survival increases to 90 percent.

That's why having this device is essential for child safety.

Erlanger donated an AED to the Boynton Recreation Center for that very reason. 

Erlanger was able to give this device to the organization thank to a grant that is allocated on a case-by-case basis.

Many community centers are supported by the city or county government, the Boynton is a volunteer recreation center.

As more funding becomes available, more AEDs will be put into place. 

Robbie Tester with Erlanger says these devices can be costly on smaller organizations.

“They used to be about five or six thousand dollars,” said Tester. “Now you can get one for about a thousand. After you put everything together, it's about $1200 or $1300.”

The AED provides audible instructions to guide users through a cardiac arrest, all you have to do is push the start button.

Tester says the AED does not replace the importance of knowing CPR, but it does recognize two types of lethal heartbeats.

“You put the machine on either the adults or pediatric patient, and it recognizes the heart rhythm,” said Tester. “It tells you what to do, and it delivers the appropriate level of energy based on whatever that rhythm is.”

Tester and his colleague Ashley Rochester have boys who play on the same baseball team at the Boynton Recreation. 

She says using this device until emergency crews arrive could save lives.

“Knowing what we know from the medical field having that at the rec within less than a minute. Timing is everything if we do have an emergency,” said Rochester.

As a parent of a child athlete, Rochester is grateful this center now has an AED.

“Gives us more peace of mind as a parent do you have your kids on the field knowing that you have that 5 feet away,” said Rochester.

All staff members at community centers in Chattanooga are CPR certified.