Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Around the World

Iridia Medical is a proud partner of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s PAD program. Over the past decade and a half many countries have worked to develop programs that facilitate the public’s access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs). In order to develop an innovative public access to defibrillation program for BC, the Heart and Stroke Foundation surveyed a variety of national and international PAD programs. We are excited to be part of this exceptional project that will ultimately save the lives of countless British Columbians. To celebrate BC’s PAD Program, we decided to take a look around the globe to see how different Public Access to Defibrillation programs were able to create positive impacts in their communities.

Public Access to Defibrillation

Canada

Canada has a few provincial PAD programs. The Ontario PAD program has been active since 2007, and they have installed around 3000 publically accessible AEDs. Over the next few years, and with the help of additional provincial funding Ontario is planning on installing another 2500 Public AEDs. Today, over 40 lives have been saved by publically accessible AED’s in Ontario.

United States

In the United States, many cities have developed their own PAD programs. San Diego started “Project Heartbeat” in 2001. The initial goal of their program was to place 250 AEDs in public places throughout the city in time for the 2003 Superbowl. San Diego managed to exceed their goal by placing 550 publically accessible AED units in that time frame. San Diego is working to make AEDs prevalent in public places as Fire Extinguishers currently are. San Diego’s AED of choice is the Powerheart AED G3 Automatic; an AED that Iridia Medical is also proud to carry in our product line. Today, Project Heartbeat has saved 107 lives in the Greater San Diego area.

Powerheart AED G3

In Florida, the City of Miami/DADE fire-rescue department developed the “Team for Life” program in an effort to promote public access to defibrillators in the region. The fire-rescue department provides funding, training, equipment and program management for the public AED program. Miami/DADE has also worked to create one of the largest public access to Defibrillator initiatives in the world by equipping 1900 Police vehicles with Lifepak 500 AEDs.

Spain

In 2011, Spain became the first country in the European Union to start a PAD Program. The Territory of Girona, Spain intends to install 500 fixed AEDs and 150 portable AED units throughout the region. Spain has chosen to install the Powerheart G3 Plus Automatic AED on busy street corners and in public buildings. 

Australia

Meanwhile in the Southern hemisphere, Saint John’s Ambulance Australia started the community based “Heart Start” program. This program was begun in 2004 and provides guidance for public institutions seeking to incorporate an AED into their facilities. To date, this program has saved 19 lives. In 2012, Saint Johns Ambulance began offering subsidized AED’s to the public. They have received an overwhelming amount of public support for their program and they are hoping to see it grow dramatically in the future.

Hong Kong

Moving into Asia, on March 11th 2007, the Hong Kong College of Cardiology in conjunction with the Lan Kwai Fong Association installed their first AED in a public place, as part of their “Heart-Safe Place” program. In the program’s first year, over 100 AEDs were installed in places ranging from community centers and sports arenas to amusement parks.

Japan

Since 2004, Japan has been working to incorporate AED’s into their communities. When the program began there were approximately 9906 publicly accessed defibrillators in Japan. Due to a number of public and private initiatives, by 2007 the number of community based AEDs had risen to about 88,265. A study conducted on the Japanese PAD initiative found that the increase in public access to defibrillators was shown to dramatically improve an individual’s chances of surviving a cardiac event .

Iridia Medical is very proud to be part of the BC-PAD program and we are very excited to be joining these other locations in an effort to bring accessible AEDs to the public.

[1] Kitamura, T., et.al. “ nationwide Public-Access to Defibrillators in Japan” New England Journal of Medicine, (March 18, 2010) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0906644

What is an AED Program?

The Impact of Cardiac Arrest

In Canada, 35,000 to 45,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. Unlike a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in an artery, SCA results from an electrical malfunction of the heart. The only effective treatment for this condition is the early delivery of an electric shock by an automated external defibrillator (AED). Response time is critical; for every minute of delay in delivering the shock, survival rates for SCA victims decrease by 7-10 percent.

cardiac arrest survival

The Solution

Recognizing the link between increased survival rates in SCA victims and the prompt use of a defibrillator, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) has recommended that all Canadians:

  • Have widespread access to automated external defibrillators.
  • Be trained and encouraged to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED skills when needed.

When applied to the workplace, these recommendations entail implementing a program that makes AEDs readily available and ensures that staff are well prepared to use them when needed.

cardiac arrest

Our AED Program Process

Iridia provides an AED Program that includes three indispensable components:

1) The AED device, associated accessories, and servicing

Iridia is British Columbia’s sole distributor of LIFEPAK AEDs and we are a regional distributor of Powerheart G3 Plus AED. Both manufacturers are renown for their use of leading-edge technology, the reliability of their units, and after purchase service provided.

defibrillators

2) Initial and ongoing training

Managing a cardiac arrest involves more than merely “pushing the button” on an AED. Respondents must be able to recognize an arrest, perform CPR, and use a defibrillator properly. Our AED training workshops ensure that participants are able to respond effectively when the time comes.

3) Medical direction (a WorkSafeBC recommendation)

Iridia provides a medical direction package, consisting of the following components:

  • Emergency medical response procedures
  • Emergency Health Services liaison
  • Operational debriefing
  • Post incident call review
  • Physician consultation
  • Critical incident stress referrals

Our medical direction package is designed to maximize the value of your AED, and exceeds the recommendations from WorkSafeBC, the HSFC, and Health Canada.

Our Company

Since 1998, Iridia has overseen the training and certification of over 10,000 lay rescuers in the use of AEDs. Dr. Allan Holmes, a fellowship-trained Emergency Physician, is an expert in pre-hospital care and has worked extensively with Occupational First Aid Attendants, fire rescue personnel and the BC Ambulance Service. We currently provide medical direction to over 300 clients including 140 fire departments throughout the province.

AED Maintenance is Key for Defibrillators

As a distributor of AEDs, Iridia would like to take this opportunity to comment on the recent CBC media reports regarding AEDs not operating correctly or failing.  As indicated in the article, a reason for the failure of an AED to function properly has been the lack of routine maintenance.  It is important for individuals or organizations who have purchased an AED to frequently check their device to ensure it will be ready when needed.  To ensure readiness, a routine check would involve inspecting the following:

  • Expiration dates on the battery and electrode pads.  If either items are about to expire or have expired, immediately order and replace the soon to expire/or expired supplies.
  • AED examined for visible damage. 
  • Electrode cable is securely connected to AED
  • Spare set of electrodes is present with AED
  • Rescue Kit is present with AED

AED Maintenance

To help organizations manage their AEDs, Iridia provides an AED Medical Direction Program with a focus on AED maintenance. As part of this program, we track the battery and electrode expiration dates, placing a call to your organization in advance of expiration to ensure the AED is always ready to be used.

In addition to helping track expiration dates, the AEDs we distribute are equipped with safety features to help ensure the AEDs will work when needed. The following are some of the features:

Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR Plus AED:

  • Performs weekly and monthly automatic self- tests for functionality
  • 4 Readiness indicators
  • SafeGuard Power System – a dual layer of security inside the CR Plus the internal battery is kept to its optimal power level via the CHARGE-PAK™ battery charger.
AED Maintenance

Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus AED:

  • Rescue Ready Technology
    • a daily, weekly and monthly check for functionality of all main components (battery  and electrodes for presence and capacity, software and hardware)
    • visual alarm (Rescue Ready Status Indicator turns from green to red)
    • an audible alarm (prompting the user to service the unit)
AED Maintenance

The media reports also state that some defibrillators did not deliver a shock.  It is important to understand that in some sudden cardiac arrest situations, the defibrillators may not deliver a shock because it is not needed.  When the electrode pads are placed on the patient’s chest, the device analyzes for 2 shockable rhythms:  Ventricular fibrillation (VF) or Ventricular tachycardia (VT).  If these shockable rhythms are detected, a shock will be delivered.  If they are not detected, a shock will not be delivered and the rescuer will continue with CPR.  If a device does not deliver a shock, it does not mean the unit has failed.

Like all safety equipment, AEDs should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Having a regular maintenance plan in place can help ensure your AED will be ready to use when needed.