In my years of being involved with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) one of my greatest pleasures is working with communities to bolster or build City Defibrillation Programs. Having met with and partnered with hundreds of communities particularly in the Southwest and Central U.S. it is definitely the people that make this such a delight. Fire Chiefs, EMS Chiefs, City Safety Managers, Emergency Managers, City Managers, Mayors, Police Chiefs, Risk Managers and Department Heads like Parks & Rec, Utilities and more are often some of the most community-focused and passionate individuals around. Though every community is different each of the mentioned roles within a municipality have an obligation to not only their local citizens but also to City employees to make them safe from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. I take very seriously the task of helping to create what I classify and describe as “Heart Safe Cities.”
What does a great Defibrillation Program look like? In my experience, it is often one where there’s outstanding communication between the City Departments and the public officials that lead them. There is often a well embraced safety culture in such Cities where the general thinking of the community leaders is proactive and they are mindful of the big picture. The initiative to place life-saving AED devices is paired with the initiative to train City employees in CPR & AED so they are armed with life-saving skills and there’s little apprehension over the use of the public defibrillators. There’s often one individual who can be coined as the champion of the program and that individual is typically well organized as far as AED placement and the status and inventory of consumables like batteries and electrode pads.
Is your City progressive, average or lacking in respect to a Public Access to Defibrillation Program (PAD)? Do you have AEDs in City Hall, swimming pools, parks and rec centers, public works, libraries, convention centers, and utility vehicles? Does your police department have AEDs at the station and have them strategically placed in police patrol vehicles? The trend to equip police officers with these safe and easy-to-use defibrillators is yielding a notable amount of lives saved since many times they arrive on an emergency prior to Fire Departments. Does your City have a single brand of AEDs or are there numerous AED types at various departments? Have you partnered with a knowledgeable consultant such as AED One-Stop Shop who can help determine the right AED brand and model for each application and each environment? Or have you done much of this but find the management of the program time consuming? You might need a comprehensive Program Management offering which provides medical direction, asset tracking software, and post-event support when your City uses an AED for an event.
Gone are the days that communities should rely solely on calling 911. Fire Departments are massive supporters and proponents for the investment in AEDs since they know they simply can’t arrive in time all of the time. Perhaps this article speaks to you and your City or County might need some attention placed upon AEDs. If that’s the case, please contact Laurence Saban of AED One-Stop Shop 855-677-2337 for some expert level guidance on how best to proceed. Your actions today and focus upon safety will very likely lead to lives being saved at some point in the future, perhaps sooner than you might expect.