Automated electronic defibrillators, when used properly, have saved lives. The availability of an AED can sometimes mean the difference between life or death for victims of cardiac arrest.
Some of these life-saving devices may not be properly registered as required by state law. You might recall a few years back when officials with the Johnson City/Washington County Emergency Medical Services sent out an urgent call for businesses with AEDs to make sure that information gets into the 911 database. It is only then that 911 dispatchers are able to tell Good Samaritans if there is an automatic defibrillator in the building that might be able to help a patient.
According to the American Heart Association, a victim will die if normal heart rhythm isn’t restored within minutes. The faster an AED is located and used on a patient suffering cardiac arrest, the better the chances of survival.
That’s one of the reasons former state Rep. Bob Patton, R-Johnson City, sponsored a law in 2004 making sure that all AEDs placed in public or private buildings are registered with the local 911 communications center. Patton brought the measure after a 48-year-old Johnson City man suffered a heart attack in the Washington County Downtown Centre and died before a defibrillator could be used on him. Unknown to those who came to his aid, a defibrillator was just 50 feet away.
While the defibrillators can be lifesavers, should someone go into sudden cardiac arrest, they are useless unless first responders know where to find them.
Although registering an automatic defibrillator is a one-time requirement mandated by the state, many remain unregistered throughout the county. We suspect a few of these might even be located in government buildings.
In most cases, the people in charge of these devices have forgotten about the requirement, or simply have put it off for too long. They shouldn’t.
To register an AED or to see the list of those already registered, visit www.wcjcems.org.