What is an AED?
An AED or automatic external defibrillator is a device that sends an electrical pulse through the heart shocking it out of a fatal rhythm and allowing a normal, healthy rhythm to resume. It is used for treatment of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Why are Public Access AEDs important?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is one of the leading causes of death in North America killing 450,000 people each year in the U.S. alone. It can strike anyone: your staff or visitors without warning.
Survival from sudden cardiac arrest depends on a strong Chain of Survival. This includes early access of the EMS system, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced life support. Early defibrillation has been called the critical link in the Chain of Survival, since the time from collapse to defibrillation is the key indicator of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
The good news: Sudden cardiac arrest is survivable. Recent New England Journal of Medicine studies show that when AEDs are used within the first 3 minutes of a SCA there is a 74 percent survival rate. In communities that have been proactive in implementing an AED program survival rates have increased to 30 to 50 percent and more.
However, the chance of an SCA victim’s survival decreases by 10 percent with every minute that passes. Because of the lack of public access AEDs in most communities today, fewer than five percent of victims survive.
Why does my office/school/community need an AED?
AEDs save lives – period.
Why can’t I just call 911?
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) may not respond fast enough to save someone in cardiac arrest. In fact, the national average response time is 10-12 minutes, so even the best EMS responders could have difficulty arriving in time. Besides traffic, consider the time needed to make it to a patient’s side on the 15th floor of an office building or across a crowded gymnasium.
AEDs offer a practical way to save more lives because they are designed for use by nearly anyone. Widespread deployment of AEDs gives SCA victims the best chance of survival.