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PAD - reasons to encourage Public Access Defibrillation

Michael Rad

There are successful PAD campaigns that are currently running in the US . For example, in Pittsburgh Subway stations 500 AEDs have been installed. The AEDs are easily recognized as they are carrying a sticker that features the international AED symbol - that is a red heart with a white lightning bolt. Other good examples of offering public access to defibrillators can be found in Indianapolis International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Colorado Springs Airport, Nashville International Airport, St. Louis International Airport/Lambert Field, Tampa International Airport and Tucson International Airport – they all carry AEDs for public access.
Only 10 months after this program has been initiated, the survival rate of SCA patients has risen to a pleasing 75%. According to a New England Journal of Medicine research carried out in casinos in Las Vegas , 74% of gamblers who experienced sudden cardiac arrest survived after getting defibrillated within 3 minutes. When American Airlines fitted automated defibrillators aboard, cardiac arrest survival rates rose to 40%.
Other successful programs include the "First Responder Defibrillator Program," in Boston . Under this program, Boston Emergency Medical Services provides CPR and AED training at no cost to any company that purchases a defibrillator. Since the program was launched, 5,000 people have been trained, automated external defibrillators have been placed in over 90 locations all over the city, and the cardiac arrest survival rate has doubled. In another triumphant program, the Rochester , MN police became the first police department in the state equipped with AEDs. Since then, cardiac arrest survival rates in Rochester have nearly doubled. In most states there are laws that protect those who have negligently used an AED.
Even if the automated external defibrillators are very easy to use, it is necessary that people benefit of some basic AED training in order to avoid negligent use of this device and make the AEDs fully effective. The basic training must consist of at least 3 or 4 hours of training.
All training programs must include the study of: proper AED use, maintenance as well as periodic inspection of the device. The trainees must also learn how to perform CPR, as this procedure is needed in the majority of sudden cardiac arrest cases. The trainees must know how to call for specialized help and how to report the incident after having identified the problem. They will get acquainted with the local EMS system. After having completed the AED course, one must be able to determine the state of a patient and whether the use of an AED is needed. The AED trainee should to be able to assess the state of the patient after the shock delivery. The trainees also have to know what precautions are needed in order to perform a safe defibrillation.
Automated external defibrillators usage by the general public
After having finished such a course, the trainee will have to pass a test so as to be able to be authorized in using an AED. A re-training should take place every two years and also some practice is strongly recommended so as not to forget the acquired skills.
Presently, there are several automated external defibrillator training courses provided by the American Heart Association (AHA) or the Red Cross on request. These institutions are highly competent in training methods and public heath and safety is the number one priority. There are also other organizations that will provide specialized training for potential AED users. Some campaigns even suggest the introduction of AED basic training in health education classes during secondary education. Media campaigns to educate and motivate "citizen responders" are being created and implemented to support PAD.

For more resources on Automated External Defibrillators and updated information on Public Access Defibrillation, please visit our website, where you can allso access information on AED grants

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