By Becky Becker:
AED.com has been in the business of selling a variety of medical equipment for 13 years now, and has always had a strong focus on selling AEDs (automatic external defibrillators).
When I started working with the company five years ago, I was initially grateful to have the job. As I learned more about the statistics around sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and the necessary and critical role that having quick access to an AED plays in the end result of those statistics, gratitude turned to passion. I have since become a walking spokesperson for the benefits and necessity of having quick access to an AED in all walks of life.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a condition where the heart stops beating abruptly and unexpectedly and the victim collapses. SCA is a condition that knows no boundaries – young, athletic, elderly, or seemingly healthy individuals all are subjected to this condition. It is also a TREATABLE condition that requires 3 steps occur within five minutes of the victim collapsing:
9-1-1 is called
CPR is administered immediately to keep blood circulating
An AED is at the victim’s side and used within 3 -4 minutes of collapsing
Almost 300,000 people die of this condition annually in the United States alone. These are mostly victims that collapse outside of a hospital setting (at school, church, work, etc) and rescuers/bystanders, do not have access to the one thing that will restart their heart – an AED. Emergency Medical Services will most likely have an AED but statistics show that getting to the victim within 5 minutes of their collapse has proved difficult and this should not be the only plan in place in the event of a SCA. Knowing this one fact, it has become AED.com’s mission to contribute to the more increasingly widespread AED awareness campaigns that many have joined. There is the chance to save many of those 300,000 people that do not survive, and we want to be part of the solution in improving this statistic.
Because of the nature of our business focus at DXE Medical, we are continually made aware of stories of survival or loss because an AED was either available or not within the critical five minute period. Many of these stories have become personal to us, and this is one reason that AED.com’s employees all carry an AED in their vehicle. We understand clearly that having quick access to an AED is the key to survival in a SCA event and that having one so accessible could save someone’s life. Statistics are a powerful tool in demonstrating the scope of the SCA condition. These statistics are very personal to those families that have either been saved or lost to SCA.
There are several AEDs on the market, made by the handful of leading AED manufacturers, and all of them operate on the same general principal. Some are geared more toward professional rescuers use, others are designed for a non-trained bystander in a public access setting. Each of them will have a feature or two that sets them apart from the others, but the main idea to remember is “the best defibrillator for a victim is the CLOSEST one”. When SCA strikes, access within 5 minutes to an AED is the difference between life and death.
The AED that I carry is the Cardiac Science Powerheart G3. This flagship Cardiac Science AED is one of the premier rescue-ready professional and portable AEDs on the market today. This AED has continual self test technology to ensure the AED’s readiness at all times, as well as rescue coach voice prompts. I would only have to bring the AED to a victim’s side and open it up. The rest of the work is done by the AED by directing me in voice prompts what few steps need to take place. Having an AED in my car gives me a special level of comfort and confidence that if an AED were needed by a neighbor, elderly relative, at a sporting event, at church, etc. that I would be able to provide this life-saving device. The following is a survival story where a high school in Richland, WA had only recently provided a Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 but was able to use it to save the life of a student there:
Jeremy Brewer was a typical high school student in Washington State.
This is the timeline:
- September, 2011 Richland High School had a Cardiac Science PowerHeart AED G3 installed in a wall cabinet on the wall in the high school’s gym.
- December, 2011 a few days prior to the Christmas break, Jeremy Brewer and his friends were walking up the steps to the school gym and Jeremy collapsed.
- Within seconds he received basic CPR.
- One minute later, the football coach grabbed the defibrillator off the wall and rushed to Jeremy’s side to deliver the live saving shock.
- Jeremy and his family are continuing to determine the cause of his sudden cardiac arrest through the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
- Jeremy missed two class periods before the Christmas break and is now in January is back at school today doing what typical 14 year old kids do, most importantly living his life.
As with almost everything in life – knowledge is power. Take this knowledge and apply it to your own life. Ask questions to find out if your workplace, your childrens’ schools, your place of worship, etc. have an AED program in place. Begin to look for AEDs in public settings. This must be a grassroots effort to build AED awareness much like fire safety was 30 years ago. Fire Extinguishers are now accessible and present in all public settings. You can be the catalyst to bring AED access to these settings and in doing so lives will be saved.