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Assessing Community Readiness for Public Access AED Program

Careful planning needed

Worst Case Scenario

In determining need, it is essential to consider the worst case scenario.

Consider the following hypothetical situation: Your soccer club plays on a complex of fields on the outskirts of your town. It may be only five minutes from the nearest fire station, but think of how long it might take for paramedics to arrive if a player, referee, or parent went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) on a Saturday afternoon when four soccer games were being played on four different fields at the complex, when the parking lot was crowded with cars entering and leaving all the time, when traffic on the surrounding roads was heavy with people out running errands, and when the only ambulance was out on another call.

Far fetched? Maybe, but cardiac accidents tend not to happen when things are going right - only when everything seems to be going wrong, such as occurred in the case of 13-year old Emile Gadjev of Atlanta, Georgia, who died from SCA when, due to a series of errors, paramedics did not arrive until 12 minutes after he collapsed. Remember, the chances of surviving SCA are reduced 7 to 10% for every minute between collapse and defibrillation, which is the most important link in the cardiac chain of survival.

Research Essential

In determining need, you should also consider:

  • What similarly situated facilities have done: How have other schools, youth sports programs, or facilities like yours handled the issue of AEDs? You don't need to follow their lead, but it will give you some idea of whether you are on the right track.

  • Historical data: If you know of a case or two where people suffered cardiac arrest (or something like it) chances are that similar incidents will occur in the future. Of course, if the ambulance always arrives within a minute or two, maybe medical help will always be close at hand. The chances of reviving a person in cardiac arrest go down dramatically with each minute following collapse.

If you would like assistance with this process, please e-mail MomsTeam by clicking here or call our toll-free 800 number, 1-800-474-5201.