Thanks to a suggestion from a Delaware County Emergency Medical Services lieutenant, the County’s 911 Center has created a registry for AED devices.
An AED — more formally known as an Automated External Defibrillator — is a portable electronic device that can measure a person’s heart rhythm and send an electric shock — or defibrillation — to the heart if the rhythm is found to be abnormal or in cardiac arrest.
A user does not have to be trained in first aid in order to use an AED because the device provides simple audio and visual commands. AEDs have become a critical life-saving tool for those suffering cardiac arrest, and many workplaces, schools and public buildings have installed them.
Delaware County Emergency Communications Director Patrick Brandt explained how the registry will work.
“Lt. Jennifer Ransom, one of our Delaware County paramedics, got the idea that our dispatchers could direct a caller to where an AED is located in their building,” Brandt said. “By learning where the caller and the victim are located, our dispatcher will be able to say something like, ‘OK, there’s an AED down the hallway from you on the left.’ The sooner we can get treatment started, the more likely we are to save someone’s life.”
A 2001 U.S. Department of Labor study found that sixth-grade students, who were not trained in the use of AEDs, were able to successfully administer defibrillation within an average of 90 seconds, while trained AED operators took about 67 seconds.
Brandt said the 911 Center is asking people in Delaware County to voluntarily register their AEDs by going to this website: delco911.org/index.php/aed-registration and filling out the fields of information requested.
“We want people to be as descriptive as possible in telling us where the AEDs are,” Brandt said. “We’ll enter all that information into our computer-aided dispatch system, so it’s immediately accessible to a dispatcher as soon as a call comes in and we can identify the location.”