The Avera Heart Hospital has helped place more than 800 automated external defibrillators throughout the Sioux Falls community since they started their program in 2004. The program was put on hold when the company that manufactures the public access defibs stopped selling them, but now they are available once again through the Heart Hospital. Only 8% of patients who go in to cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive, that statistic vastly improves when an AED is accessible.
Division Chief Jim Sideras with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue demonstrates how easy it is to use an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. The Avera Heart Hospital buys them in bulk, sells them to businesses, churches and schools at cost for no profit and then Fire Rescue takes over training folks on them. Sideras says you can't be scared to use it because if you come across someone in cardiac arrest, unconscious and not breathing, it will mean the difference between life or death for them.
Sideras says, "These defibs are designed to only shock someone in cardiac arrest. If they are breathing or their rhythm is not shockable, the machine has a computer that analyzes the rhythm and will only shock the appropriate person. You can't hurt them. It's more likely, if you don't do something, the patient will die if they are in cardiac arrest."
The Avera Heart Hospital understands the critical role these defibs place is saving lives that's why they make it as easy as possible for public places to have them. There are 800 of them in Sioux Falls. We went to the downtown library and found one in the main entrance, but as Sioux Falls grows and buildings get taller and wider more are needed. Time is heart muscle.
Sideras says, "For every minute you are in cardiac arrest your survivability decreases by 10% so the faster we can get the device on someone the better chance you have of surviving."
Sideras says the ABC's of AED's are as simple as can be. The most important thing is having access to one in the first place.
If you are interested in getting an AED for your business or church call the Avera Heart Hospital 605-977-7000.