So - where are the AEDs?
It is an established fact that the use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) during cardiac arrest can provide a tremendous increase in survival rates when used in conjunction with effective CPR. All CPR certification classes at CPR Seattle include training in the use of an AED in an emergency, and lots of practice integrating the AED into CPR procedures. The effectiveness of an AED will decrease over time as the victims heartbeat deteriorates, so a crucial point of a rescue is to be aware of the nearest accessible AED unit.
Most places with a large public presence - airports, shopping malls, sports venues, etc. - will have one or more AEDs on site. Other common locations would be schools, gyms/fitness centers, and at least in Seattle and the rest of Washington state, dental offices. Some business locations may have AEDs on hand as well. Seattle is located in King County, and regulations here dictate that any entity that has purchased an AED for use must register that AED with King County EMS, in order to ensure that any future 911 callers from that address are immediately provided with the precise location of the AED. That way, even if CPR is in progress, the caller can have someone obtain the AED quickly. Washington law (RCW 70.54.310) states:
(3) A person who uses a defibrillator at the scene of an emergency and all other persons and entities providing services under this section are immune from civil liability for any personal injury that results from any act or omission in the use of the defibrillator in an emergency setting.
(4) The immunity from civil liability does not apply if the acts or omissions amount to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
(5) The requirements of subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to any individual using a defibrillator in an emergency setting if that individual is acting as a good samaritan under RCW 4.24.300.
The basic idea being that said businesses have no liability to worry about, provided the above conditions are met, which is likely in the vast majority of cases.
CPR Seattle is making an effort, beginning at the local level, to making the location and availability of AEDs a feature of our updated website. We will be contacting businesses that have an AED on site (and who, by nature of the regulations, have therefore completed CPR and AED training for their employees) to add their locations to our AED Locator. Then, anyone with access to the web can quickly access the information in case of emergency, or just for preparation in case of one. This does not in any way replace or preclude notifying local emergency services in an actual emergency and/or CPR event, but is meant to provide information in addition to that provided by an EMS dispatcher. Knowing where an AED is located before it is needed could make all the difference to a victim of cardiac arrest.
The AED Locator will be constantly updated as new information becomes available. We recommend bookmarking the page on your computer or mobile device for quick consultation. If you or your business has an AED on site, we encourage you to share that information with CPR Seattle, for the benefit of the community at large. For more information, please contact us via the website.