· What does AED stand for?
· What is it?
· What does it look like?
· Where is it?
· What is it for?
Just as you can answer all of the above questions were they to pertain to an exit sign, you should be able to answer them for AEDs. Just as you take notice of the exit signs when you are in a public place, take notice of the AEDs.
AED stands for Automatic External Defibrillator. It is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm of an unresponsive person, and if needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Most AEDs are stored in wall cabinets with a clear glass front and designated by a wall display sign that reads “AED” with a red heart with a white lightning bolt. Many locations with AEDs also display a decal on their front door or window. The display cabinet sounds an alarm when it is opened, alerting others to an emergency. The alarm also protects the device from theft and can be wired into most security systems.
The location and storage of an AED is extremely important. In order for it to be of use, it must be:
· Visible to the public,
· Easily accessible in an UNLOCKED case,
· Maintained properly, and
· Located in an area where it can be accessed and brought to the patient enabling the shock to be delivered in less than 5 minutes.
Why is early defibrillation so critical? An article in the journal Circulation, states “AEDs are the most promising method for achieving rapid defibrillation and that AEDs and training in their use should be accessible to the community.”
The article goes on to explain that “early defibrillation is critical to survival from cardiac arrest for several reasons: (1) the most frequent initial rhythm in witnessed sudden cardiac arrest is Ventricular Fibrillation (VF); (2) the most effective treatment for VF is electrical defibrillation; (3) the probability of successful defibrillation diminishes rapidly over time; and (4) VF tends to convert to asystole (a non-shockable rhythm) within a few minutes.”
“The speed with which defibrillation is performed is the major determinant of the success of resuscitative attempts for treatment of VF cardiac arrest. Survival rates after VF cardiac arrest decrease approximately 7% to 10% with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. A survival rate as high as 90% has been reported when defibrillation is achieved within the first minute of collapse. When defibrillation is delayed, survival rates decrease to approximately 50% at 5 minutes, approximately 30% at 7 minutes, approximately 10% at 9 to 11 minutes, and approximately 2% to 5% beyond 12 minutes.” http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/102/suppl_1/I-60.full
In order to help raise awareness in the Wilton Community, Cardiac Companion, LLC has created an AED map for the Town. The data used to create the map was obtained as a result of the Town’s designation as a HeartSafe Community in February 2012*. The map is easy to view and navigate:
To view, simply click here or cut and paste: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zN-WrBcGY1CM.kYYljG3nKMtI into your browser. Each red lightning bolt represents the location of an AED or multiple AEDs. Click each lightning bolt to reveal the name, address and total number of AEDs for a particular location. The locations and total number of AEDs at each location are also listed below:
1. Cider Mill School: 1 AED
2. Wilton High School: 2 AEDs
3. Comstock Community Center: 1 AED
4. Wepco: 1 AED
5. Four Seasons Racquet Club: 1 AED
6. Wilton Congregational Church: 2 AEDs
7. Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps: All first responders carry AEDs
8. Wilton Police Department: All first responders carry AEDs
9. Wilton Fire Department: All first responders carry AEDs
10. Village Market: 1 AED
11. Wilton Library Association: 1 AED
12. Middlebrook School: 1 AED
13. Louis Dreyfus Corp.: 1 AED
14. Rolling Hills Country Club: 5 AEDs
15. The Lake Club: 3 AEDs
16. Our Lady of Fatima School: 2 AEDs
17. Lourdes Health Care Center: 1 AED
18. Sacred Heart Church: 1 AED
19. Trackside Teen Center: 1 AED
20. Wilton YMCA: 3 AEDs
21. Wilton Town Hall: 2 AEDs
It is vital that members of the community as well as emergency dispatch know the locations of all AEDs. In this way, not only can laypeople act as efficiently and effectively as possible during a cardiac emergency, but a caller to 911 can be directed by dispatch to the closest AED while awaiting first responder arrival. Such information is critical for the chain of survival to be as strong as possible so that lives can be saved.
*Establishments in Wilton may have an AED that the writer was unaware of at the time of publication. For additional AED locations to be added to the map, information should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.