After a senior’s hockey game, Ev White exited the ice when everything went black. He collapsed, head first, at the door.
Immediately, there was a call to emergency services, panic ensued as others raced around the arena, hoping someone knew how to help him until the paramedics came.
Enter Gordie Foster. Foster had some classroom training on CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED), but he certainly had never used one on a person in distress.
When Minutes Count
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) save lives when a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs, both inside and outside the hospital setting. An AED device works by reading heart rhythms and, in the case of a life-threatening arrhythmia, administering shocks to restore a regular rhythm. The sooner that can happen, the greater the chances of survival.
The use of an AED is the third step in the cardiac arrest chain of survival. The first two steps in a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are to 1) call 9-1-1 and 2) begin immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Saving a Life
Foster was in a dressing room in the arena and with all the commotion, he rushed to White’s side.
Foster never thought he’d have to use his training, but that day he did. He followed the automatic audio prompts from the machine. The AED detected a shockable rhythm and Foster assisted the machine in delivering the shocks that restored the normal rhythm of White's heart.
Minutes later, paramedics arrived and rushed White to the hospital. He was on the road to recovery.
Because 85% of SCAs begin outside of healthcare settings knowing where one is located in case of an emergency can be the difference between life and death. AEDs are now in schools, office buildings, gyms, shopping centers, golf courses, and aquatic centers. Unfortunately, the AED unit is not always placed in a visible site; therefore, in the event of an emergency, it can be difficult to locate the device. Ideally, AEDs need to be placed strategically to ensure the greatest number of people can see, access, and use the device should an event occur. Better yet, the use of an AED registry can save lives by allowing 911 dispatchers to direct bystanders to the closest AED in the case of an SCA.
So, how does it work? When someone calls 911 after witnessing someone collapse, the 911 dispatcher can search the registry to find the closest AED and tell the caller where it is located. As they wait for the AED to be retrieved, the dispatcher instructs the caller to perform CPR.
AED Registries Save Lives
There are 5 states and one Canadian Province that have set an example for the rest of the country (and world) by creating mandated AED registration programs.
When AEDs are not part of a registry, the effects can be deadly.
Take the story of Michael Fowlie, also a resident of Canada. Fowlie, an award-winning accountant, was just 28 when he went into cardiac arrest on a sunny Saturday while cycling. Despite the calls to 911, no one knew his heart stopped just half a mile from a device that could have saved his life.
Seven minutes after his collapse, CPR was initiated by a bystander as a crowd gathered. No one at the scene knew that the AED device that would have reset Fowlie’s hear rhythm and saved his life was sitting on a sailboat nearby.
Setting Up a Registry
In Prince Edward Island, where White continues to live, a new province-wide registry of mobile defibrillators has gone live and this will save lives by reducing the minutes it takes to get an AED to someone in distress. The AEDs are in government buildings, schools, health facilities, churches, community buildings, private businesses, and private residences.
The website, where anyone with an AED can go to register it, features two new videos produced by the province. The goal is to show Islanders that anyone can use an AED. They also have an interactive map to allow you to see where AEDs are located in the community.
The average ambulance response time was 8 minutes and 52 seconds, as of December 2018, according to a government report, but responses in rural areas are generally longer, averaging more than 12 minutes in most rural areas.
Having an AED close by can bridge that gap in time.
Getting in the Game: Getting a Registry in Place
Overseeing the registration process and ensuring the AED's location is known should be easy—still, most US states that do have registration requirements don’t have a clear infrastructure in place for AED owners to register.
PlusTrac™ makes sure your AED program is properly designed and implemented, that it’s compliant, completely documented, and in the hands of a trained volunteer responder who is ready to rescue. And we don’t stop there either—we offer post-event support and a number of other services you may not have thought of. If it’s AED related, we have it covered.
Return to the Ice
It has been more than 6 years since White’s cardiac arrest and he is back to skating and organizing hockey games three times a week.
If you are interested in being part of a national AED registry contact us, today, for a free demonstration.