FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, can save lives. The Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, or TRAA, is urging area businesses and organizations to take the next step by registering those devices.
TRAA estimates there are around 500 to 600 AEDs in our community. Of that number, fewer than 200 are registered. That’s a statistic TRAA needs the public’s help to change.
“This can be such a life-saving device, but only if people know that an organization has one and where it’s at, when it’s needed,” Gary Booher, TRAA’s executive director, said.
TRAA partnered with a national company called ATRUS to debut the service in April, but said it hasn’t seen an overwhelming response.
“There’s still many churches out there and especially a lot of businesses that we know have them that just haven’t registered yet,” Booher said.
Some of the bigger organizations that have already registered include Fort Wayne Community Schools, IPFW, USF, and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.
“If you’re in a situation where you need to use that AED and you’re just a normal layperson and it makes you nervous to use that, even though they’re designed for non-medical personnel to use fairly easily. Still, if you’re in that situation, you’re probably going to be nervous so having someone there that walk you through because they know the exact make and model of that device, it’s just one extra level of comfort that people might have to know that someone is able to tell them exactly what to do. It’s just an extra point of information that can help everybody so that if there is an emergency, everything is working properly,” FWCS spokesperson, Krista Stockman, said.
Registering the AED device is a very simple and easy process. All you have to do is log-on to their website. From there, you’ll sign up your device which is a process that only takes about 10 minutes.
The registration then goes into TRAA’s control center system. When someone calls in a cardiac arrest,different pings will pop up to show the closest AEDs. TRAA said it’s also important to make sure buildings register the device as public instead of private.
“The problem is if you purchase it to save a life of someone visiting your building, and we don’t know it’s there, then you may have wasted your money because it wasn’t even used when it was needed,” Booher said.
If it’s registered as a public, the ping will show up within 1200 feet of the AED’s location. If it’s registered as private, the ping will only show up if the 911 call is coming from the AED’s exact location. Take the following example from Booher:
“If someone had a cardiac arrest at Clinton and Berry Street and if the city’s AED at Citizen Square was registered as private, we wouldn’t know it was there because it’s outside of the physical address but it’s still within the 1200 feet. On the other hand, if it was registered as public access, it would notify us even at that corner outside the building that there was an AED inside the building so someone could go get it or at least get the responders inside to bring it out before EMS or Fire arrived with our own equipment,” Booher said.
Registration is a public service TRAA provides to the community for free.
“If you register your AED, you’re not going to have to pay a subscription fee, you’re not going to have to buy anything, you’re not going to get inundated with emails, it’s totally free.”
TRAA said the price of AEDs continues to lower every year. They currently cost around $2,000. According to TRAA, the devices are also very easy to use, even without medical experience and knowledge.
“Anyone can use the device, it walks you through it. You don’t have to be trained in how to use it. Any bystander can pull it off the wall and know exactly how to use it with the instructions that are provided within the device,” Booher said.
Registering also costs you nothing and also helps with device maintenance.
“It helps you track expiration dates on pads, on batteries, things like that, that otherwise you would have to track yourself,” Booher said.
In this situation, timing is everything. TRAA’s average response time is about five minutes.
“We have excellent response times with TRAA and FWFD, but the chances of us being there in the first two minutes is really pretty slim. The brain starts to die after 4-6 minutes without oxygen, so that’s 4-6 minutes after the heart stops that the oxygen flow stops. Survival from cardiac arrest is reduced by ten percent for every minute that goes by after that four to six minute range that the brain is without oxygen. The quicker we can get someone on the scene to do CPR and to shock that heart, get it beating again, the better the chance of recovery for that patient,” Booher said.