PALM BEACH, FL--The Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department launched its Heart Safe Palm Beach program two years ago to encourage residents and businesses to have automatic external defibrillators on site for emergencies.
The devices deliver an electric shock to people in cardiac arrest to restore regular rhythm.
With 140 AEDs registered with the department so far, Fire-Rescue is now beginning a push to have the devices in all restaurants, condominiums and other places in town where large groups of people gather, according to Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Darrel Donatto. Some private clubs, including The Mar-a-Lago and the Everglades clubs, already have the devices, as do the houses of worship in town, he said.
When members of the community register their AED with Fire-Rescue, the department will come to the property to provide training.
“An electrical shock is the only thing that will cure sudden cardiac arrest. CPR alone is not enough,” said Brian Fuller, emergency medical services division chief. Fuller created the Heart Safe program.
The department will alert owners when it’s time to replace the battery and defibrillation pads, and can assist owners with that maintenance on site, Donatto said. Giving regular refreshers on AED use and CPR is also is part of the program, he said.
The Palm Beach Civic Association has gotten behind the campaign and is urging residents and businesses to purchase the device.
Dr. Michael Dennis, a member of the association’s health-care committee, said some AED devices can detect whether a shock is needed and delivers that shock automatically. In other cases, when only cardiopulmonary resucitation is needed, some AEDs give feedback on the frequency and pressure needed for proper CPR, Dennis said.
AEDs range in price from $1,200 to $2,500, Dennis said.
Dennis said using an AED device lowers an establishment’s legal liability.
“There have been a lot of health clubs and other large public venues who suffered legal liability for failure to have an AED. There have been no cases where people have had an AED and suffered legal liability for using it properly. Florida’s laws treat you as a Good Samaritan,” Donatto said. “You just can’t do anything grossly negligent.”
SOURCE: Palm Beach Daily News