If you know where to find an automated external defibrillator (AED), you may be able to save someone from sudden death. These lifesaving devices require little or no training to use. That’s why Allina Hospitals & Clinics launched the Heart Safe Communities program to place AEDs wherever people live, work and play. Heart Safe also offers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and more.
AEDs can raise survival rates
“Sudden cardiac arrest strikes 300,000 people in this country each year. In most communities, only 5 to 7 percent survive,” said Charles Lick, MD, founder of Heart Safe Communities and medical director of Allina Medical Transportation. He explained, “AEDs can raise survival rates. An AED reads a person’s heart rhythm. It looks for an irregular rhythm called ventricular fibrillation [VF]. If it detects VF, it can deliver a shock to correct the rhythm.”
Minutes count in sudden cardiac arrest
Sometimes first responders, like paramedics, can’t get to people fast enough. So it’s key to have AEDs widely available in businesses, schools, churches and even private homes.
Kim Harkins, supervisor of Heart Safe Communities, can provide an AED for you to buy. Allina offers them at discounted prices and does not make money from sales. Harkins can also help you select a site for your AED, install it and learn to use it. “We provide support so people know where AEDs are and feel comfortable using them in an emergency. That’s what saves lives,” she said.
Learn to save a life
Ask your police or fire department about CPR and AED training near you, or call Heart Safe Communities at 651-228-8470. For a fun way to train groups in CPR, host a “Save-a-Life” party. Learn more and watch a hands-only CPR video at allinahealth.org/heartsafe.