The average response time for the Fire Dept. or an ambulance to arrive at the front door of a business, or a residence is eight minutes. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation a persons chance of survival decreases by 7–10% . By the time EMTs arrive in eight minutes if bystander CPR and use of an AED did not occur they are only left with a 20% chance of survival.
Sadly, the survival rate for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in The US is less than 10%. As if that’s not bad enough if you live in New York City where the majority of people live in high-rise buildings you only have a 2 to 3% chance of surviving. Now, let’s look at the positive!
Seattle was the first city to implement AEDs in public places and they have achieved a 30% survival rate from SCA. Also, companies in Silicon Valley have also attained a 30% survival rate from SCA. These companies are dedicated to placing AEDs throughout their business and often pay for their employees to take a group CPR class.
And the most promising statistic of all:
If you go into cardiac arrest in an airport or a casino you have a 70% chance to survive-
Now that’s a safe bet!
Once you have taken a CPR class you will be sharp at noticing where AEDs are located in public places. Most AED are clearly marked ‘For trained responders only’ and are found in a white cabinet with the international logo for an AED on the glass: a heart with a Lightning bolt through it. In an emergency after telling someone to call 911 you can inform someone else to find management, or call security for help in finding one quickly.
Practicing with an AED trainer In our AHA CPR certification class will give you the confidence and skill to operate a real AED and perform CPR if needed. They are completely safe when used correctly, and thankfully, an AED will only advise you to shock a person if they are in need of one, so you can only help a person.
If bystander CPR was initiated more consistently, if AEDs were more widely available, and if every community could achieve a 20 percent cardiac arrest survival rate, an estimated 40,000 more lives could be saved each year. Early CPR and rapid defibrillation with early advanced care can result in high long-term survival rates for witnessed cardiac arrest .
An AED is a sophisticated computer capable of delivering a shock and saving a life. AEDs are still expensive, priced between $1000-$4500 and in fifteen years they don’t seem to be coming down in price like televisions, or cell phones. This is unfortunate since the higher cost is not helping to increase survival rates from SCA.
Sadly, nearly 70% of all cardiac arrests happen at home where AEDs are rarely found. Someday people will have AEDs in their home just like they have a fire extinguisher or first aid kit, and with more people becoming certified in CPR and AED survival rates will soar!
By Roy Gordon, NREMT, AHA BLS/ CPR Instructor