Finally, I have a great article from EMSWorld.com on how getting more AEDs into communities is starting to make all of our jobs a whole lot easier. In the article Illinois basketball coaches used an elementary school’s AED to revive an eighth grade boy who went into cardiac arrest during a practice in the school’s gym.

Quick Thinking, CPR and AEDs Save Lives

ManikinAEDtrainerWhen the boy collapsed, the two coaches recognized the problem and leapt into action. One started CPR while the other called 911 and got the school’s AED from the wall mount nearby. The device indicated a shock was needed and they administered a shock and converted the boy’s heart into a normal rhythm.

The boy soon regained consciousness and was taken to the hospital, sore from the CPR but alive thanks to the quick thinking of his coaches and the foresight of a State legislature and school system that thought to put AEDs in all school buildings. Under Illinois state law, any school building with physical fitness facilities must have an AED and at least one member of the staff trained to use it. They also provided matching grants to help with the purchase of the new equipment.

That law saved this boy’s life. We are seeing more AEDs in “the wild” all around us and that’s a good thing. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survival rates are starting to edge upward nationwide. Some systems are doing better than others but overall the trend is going in the right direction. Still we could do more.

AEDs Should Be Part of Building Codes

I think that AEDs should be installed in any public building or business just like overhead sprinkler systems have been mandated to prevent deaths from fires. How do we get this initiative in place? We need to become activists to get AEDs in the community.

Some places are putting AEDs on garbage trucks and in cable installer’s vans in an effort to put them closer to potential patients during the daytime. That kind of thinking outside of the box is going to save lives over time.

What can you come up with to add AEDs to your community? I want to hear from you so shoot me a comment on this article and let me know your thoughts! I look forward to hearing from you on this topic, too!

Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Understanding Flu, RSV Viruses and Episode 424.

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3 Responses to AEDs In the Wild, Saving Lives Everyday

  1. I’m not sure making an AED a government-mandated part of every brick-and-mortar business in the country is either cost-effective or strategically well-advised. We are already in an extraordinarily regulated business environment and there could be backlash against a well-meaning but massive governmental initiative like this. The per-unit utilization would probably shrink to astronomically low numbers. Probably a more cost-effective requirement — and one that would save more lives — would be to require that every business train every employee in CPR. However, this also seems like a governmental overreach to me.

    By the way, on the other hand, the literal concept of AEDs in the wild — meaning the wilderness — is quite an interesting one. It might interest your readers to know that mountain rescue organizations and other Wilderness EMS teams are beginning to mandate carrying an AED as an alleged best practice. This is also controversial but may become more and more common. That might be a suitable answer for your last paragraph.

    Cheers, and thanks for this important dialogue!

  2. podmedic says:

    Thanks for the comments Seth. I’m glad you took the time to share your thoughts. I just see the effect that sprinklers have had on saving lives from fires and think that something similar could be used to place AEDs around a community for public use in sudden cardiac arrest. We should talk and have you on the show sometime to talk about wilderness medicine – maybe as a guest of the DisasterPodcast.com where we talk about austere medicine in all kinds of environments.

  3. I don’t think requiring businesses to train their employees in CPR is a government overreach. Already, the manufacturing and childcare industries are required by OSHA to be trained in CPR and First Aid. I think it should at least be expanded to the food and hospitality industry. Maybe even places that have a certain number of employees like 20+ are required to be trained.

    I’ve heard rumors that they may require AEDs in commercial buildings like they do fire extinguishers. I’m not sure how much truth there is to that, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

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