Imagine you’re out on a Saturday running some errand when suddenly another shopper collapses in sudden cardiac arrest. You’re trained to use an AED and after making sure 911 has been notified, you immediately ask where the nearest AED is. If one is not available, you resort to performing only CPR and hope the paramedics arrive in time to apply a defibrillation shock. If an AED had been available, your fellow shopper’s chance of survival would have jumped from 7% to around 40%.
Unfortunately, this scenario with no readily available AED is all too common. Earlier this week, Readiness Systems, a company that specializes in AED management, released calculations determining the overall shortage of AEDs in the United States. These calculations were based on the assumption that the average adult can walk about 300 feet in a minute creating a 300 foot radius for an AED to be retrieved and brought to the patient within two minutes. This would allow the AED to be utilized within the critical five minute window.
Using these calculations, it was determined that just to cover non-residential urban areas there would need to be over 30 million AEDs in the United States. These calculations do not take into account the 30% of the US population living in a rural area.
Currently, there are only 2.4 million public access AEDs in the United States meaning there is a shortage of at least 27 million defibrillators. Proportionally that means we only have 8% of the public access AEDs we need across America. One of the major problems is lack of funding for AEDs. We recently created a Grant Guide to assist nonprofits find funding opportunities. If you are a small business owner, we also offer fundraising recommendations for you in this guide. Another major issue relating to AED shortage is varied and sometimes confusing legislation from state to state. We are currently in the process of creating a Legislation Guide, which will provide info on each state’s laws as well as advice regarding how you can inspire your state legislators to pass further AED legislation.