POLK CITY – Polk City Volunteer Fire and Rescue should have cardiac defibrillators to help patients with failing hearts on both of its ambulances within two months.

   Through a combination of city money, private grants and donations, the rescue squad has acquired nearly $10,000 to buy one new and one used cardiac defibrillator, an instrument used to bring a failing heart back into rhythm. The squad now has one defibrillator but two ambulances.

   Assistant Chief Deb Wilkinson said the department decided to buy two defibrillators because the current one is outdated. She said the rescue squad used a defibrillator five times last year.

   "It’s a vital, lifesaving piece of equipment," Wilkinson said. "It picks up some activity in the heart and shocks it back into a normal rhythm. If you can get to your patient within the first four minutes (of cardiac arrest) and shock their heart back into normal rhythm, they have a chance of survival."

   The defibrillators can be used only by emergency medical technicians who are specifically trained for it. Wilkinson said nine of the 20 members of the fire and rescue squad are trained at that level.

   The two defibrillators will cost $10,800; so another $800 is needed. Nearly $5,000 has been raised through private donations and grants. Polk City will pay the balance. Prudential Corp. of Newark, N.J., will donate $1,000.

   Prudential’s Helping Hearts Program has paid $2.5 million nationally toward defibrillators for volunteer rescue departments.