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The Importance of Public Access Automatic External Defibrillators

By ASHTON NARVA

October 28, 2015

Recently, a colleague asked me why it’s so important to have an automatic external defibrillator (AED) in public places. Three things immediately came to mind, three people actually. An outwardly healthy and vital 16 year old high school basketball player, a 38 year old who just finished his daily workout, and a 65 year old executive with zero history of heart disease.

All three of these people were struck down by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), just like 350,000 other Americans every year. What’s worse is less than 10% will survive. 900 people die every single day from SCA.

While many SCA victims have a history of heart disease and other risk factors, some have zero warning, just like the three victims listed above. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone -students, athletes, executives, men and women of all ages.

Although it can happen in conjunction with a heart attack, SCA is not a heart attack. It is a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm caused by a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system. The only way to correct the heart rhythm is through defibrillation.

In the office, in the gym or at school, the best chance an SCA victim has of survival is with a public access AED. According to the American Heart Association, early defibrillation combined with CPR more than doubles a victim’s chance of survival. Chances of survival decreases significantly with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation.
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While first responders are CPR trained and usually have defibrillators, the average response time is between 8-10 minutes. When every minute is critical, early access to an AED can be the difference between life and death.

So the question I posed back to my colleague was, are your office, gym and the schools your children attend ready to rescue in the event of SCA? Think about the 16 year old basketball player who drops during a game due to SCA but whose heart beat is restored to normal by an AED. Now imagine there was no AED in the gym or on school grounds, and help wouldn’t arrive for at least eight minutes.  According to the American Heart Association, an SCA victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10% for each minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation.  Statistically, this scenario most likely becomes a sudden cardiac death.

What about the 38 year old who loses consciousness immediately following a workout?  Luckily the facility also has an AED, but imagine now it’s not properly maintained, and the battery is out of power. Again, this SCA victim is faced with a critical amount of time without CPR and defibrillation.  Lives that could otherwise be saved are lost due to poorly maintained AED devices.

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Providing an AED for your organization is only the first step. Properly maintaining it at specific intervals is critical to saving a victim from sudden cardiac arrest, and fundamental to the overall AED program. Considering many Americans haven’t even seen an AED, this is a daunting task for any organization.

Imagine if one company could supply your organization with all the tools necessary to save a life in a SCA event; providing not just AED sales and comprehensive training, but one source to provide risk and legal consultation as well as a complete maintenance strategy. AED Authority is the worldwide leader in AED sales and management programs. The goal is to make sure your organization is properly prepared in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

So to come back to my colleague’s original question, why is it important to have AEDs in public places? AEDs save lives when available and properly maintained. They take SCA survival rates from as low as 5% up to 75%. If your organization would like more information, please contact AED Authority at 1-888-970-7799 or visit us at www.aedauthority.com.

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