I'm new to the community, but wanted to share a short post/story I wrote designed to help people connect with the reality of saving a life in an SCA emergency. Thanks for the opportunity!
You’re somewhere, anywhere. In an elevator, on the sidewalk, at a sports event when the unthinkable happens--an apparently healthy stranger goes down. It might be a teen, an adult, or an older person, but down he or she goes and suddenly you are your brother’s keeper! If you don’t respond quickly, that person may die and leave you wondering if you could have done something to keep him alive.
Your first aid knowledge and training kick into gear. It’s fairly certain there’s no bleeding because everything was fine a few moments ago. The person is not breathing, has no pulse, and is unconscious-- the likely culprit is [sudden cardiac arrest]. The good news is, you know what to do and you know it needs to happen quickly, because you got the Mayo Clinic memo: “death or permanent brain damage can occur within four to six minutes. Time is critical when you're helping an unconscious person who isn't breathing. Take immediate action.”
OK fine, you can do this!
-Ask a bystander to call 911!
-Use a [portable defibrillator (AED)]!
Then you realize there’s a missing link in the lifesaving chain of events that you want so desperately to act out. You don’t know where or even if there is an [AED] anywhere nearby! It would be great if these cardiac arrest events happened in the classroom where you used that awesome unit in your CPR class, but you’re out there in the real world, so what do you do now?
The hard truth of the matter is that, although there are supposed to be AED’s in most public places (airports, recreation centers, banks, casinos, churches, gyms, schools), we simply don’t know where they are. The registration and mapping process is sadly incomplete. Obviously, no matter how close by an AED may be it is of no use if it cannot be located and put to use quickly.
Tips for locating that precious AED!
• Know what an [AED sign] looks like and be able to describe it: “Look for an AED sign with a red heart and lightning bolt blaze!”
• Have a bystander look for an AED and bring it as quickly as possible!
• Have the person who calls 911 tell the operator an AED is needed and ask if the location of one nearby is known!
o Be aware of your surroundings as you move about day-by-day. Become aware of any AED’s available in the places you typically send your time.
o Ask your employer, gym manager, city parks and recreation office, school district, etc. about the availability and signage of their AED’s. Don’t be hesitant to suggest they purchase additional units, and even suggest areas you see where they should be added.
o Refresh your first aid skills, especially in operating an AED (all the while hoping you never have to use one).
o Stay informed of recent efforts by various agencies to create AED maps, phone apps, etc. that aid in locating AED’s.