Mayor’s Death Inspires Push for AEDs

Mike Kwasman, former mayor of West Chicago who died of cardiac arrest.
Mike Kwasman, former mayor of West Chicago who died of cardiac arrest.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to inspire action. That seems to be the case in West Chicago where Mayor Mike Kwasman went into cardiac arrest at a local restaurant in April of 2012. CPR attempts were unsuccessful, and now the community is looking for ways to increase the number of AEDs around town.

The only places in West Chicago currently required to have an AED are schools, fitness centers, and police and fire stations. Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill became the first local business to install an AED thanks to this new campaign. The restaurant’s owner sees the AED as a great investment and hopes other local restaurants will join them.

The West Chicago Fire Department does not have a system for tracking AED locations in town; however, the department is looking into a range of options. Mayor Kwasman’s widow is extremely supportive of the project. Crystal Kwasman says, “If it’s just one more business and one life, we’ve done our work” (Source).

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