Moving Toward an AED Utopia

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Part II in a series. View part I

Earlier this week, we posted the first blog in a 2-part series as a follow up to the recent episode on CBC Marketplace in which the question was posed as to whether publicly accessible defibrillators are really that accessible.

In our first blog, we looked at the challenges associated with publicly accessible defibrillators.  In this blog, we will consider some of the solutions which are available to overcome the challenges profiled in our first story and how you can help.

AED Density

As mentioned in our earlier blog, AED density is our first challenge. Ideally, we would like to see a 75 percent survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. To achieve this, the first person/s on the scene would have to travel no more than 450 feet to reach an AED (about 90 seconds each way using a brisk walking pace of 300 feet per minute). This is an ambitious goal with a very simple solution – AEDs need to be everywhere; in our restaurants, cars, places of work and any other highly trafficked public location.

Fortunately, a couple of initiatives are underway to place AEDs into these high traffic locations:

  • In British Columbia, the Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and the Ministry of Health, will see 650 AEDs and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC. The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”. Learn more about the BC PAD Program.
  • The Government of Canada recently announced the National AED Program – Federal AED Placement Initiative, which will see a targeted 3,000 AEDs distributed to recreational facilities, mostly arenas, across the country. The Initiative will also see 30,000 people trained in the use of AEDs. Learn more about the National PAD Program.

AED Accessibility

The second challenge we mentioned in our earlier blog is accessibility. AEDs are often placed with little regard to the possibility of their eventual use. The solution for companies and for establishments such as hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities and the like is to implement an AED program, with oversight provided by a medical director, before an AED is installed.

looking for an AED

In addition to determining, as part of the program, where an AED should be placed and what signage should appear, an AED program will also help with:

  • choosing an appropriate AED and accessories
  • setting up a servicing schedule for the AED
  • planning initial and ongoing training in the use of the AED
  • integrating the AED into your medical emergency response plan
  • liaising with local EMS providers

AED programs are designed to maximize the value of your AED and meet all the recommendations from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, WorkSafeBC, and Health Canada.

AED Awareness

Of all the components that lead to a successful AED program deployment, and hopefully, to lives being saved when the need arises, awareness is the critical issue. By talking about sudden cardiac arrest and how it can be treated with the use of an AED, we are all doing our part with raising awareness of this critical issue in the community.

In contrast to the tragic SCA incident we mentioned in our first blog, take a look at the following video profiling an NHL player who suffered SCA on the ice, and who was saved thanks to an easily accessible AED and the fast actions of his teammates and an onlooker:

As you can see, SCA can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. You never know when your CPR skills and an AED will be needed.  Take a look around at the public places you often visit and see whether you can spot the AEDs.  You might need to know one day exactly where they’re located.

Iridia is working to raise awareness of locations of AEDs through its AEDs Everywhere campaign – a crowdsourcing campaign to map the location of AEDs all around the world. The AEDs Everywhere map allows anyone to upload the location of an AED.

Learn more about the program and how to participate.

Since 1998, Iridia has overseen the training and certification of over 30,000 individuals in the use of AEDs. We currently provide AED medical direction to over 300 clients including 140+ fire rescue services.

Part II in a series. View part I