Over the past decade the population of Sioux Falls has seen plenty of visible growth, but what you might not have noticed is the rise in population of AED's. In 2013, there is roughly one life-saving device for every 15 citizens, but that ratio is only going to get smaller.
The letters "A" "E" and "D" can be found all over Sioux Falls.
"We are right about at the 1500 AEDs in the community now." Said Becky Smith, the AED Coordinator at the Avera Heart Hospital.
Ever since 2003, the Avera Heart Hospital and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue have made automated external defibrillators a part of everyday life. Whether you're out shopping or checking out a book at the library, these portable lifesavers are there. With the Heart Hospital chopping $200 off the purchase price, they could be popping up on even more walls.
"It definitely makes them more affordable for everybody to purchase and you know small businesses can raise the funds or if there's some grant money out there to help them get them and have them at each facility that they want." Said Smith.
For some, buying a new car could be the cause of a heart attack. Billion Automotive is making sure you'll still be able to drive off the lot.
"They have 20 dealerships and I'm proud to say that we've got an AED unit in every single one." Said Kimberly Carlson, the assistant operations manager at Billion.
While Billion hopes they never have to use the devices, Carlson says having them in the stores seemed like the logical thing to do.
"I mean we've got sprinklers we got fire extinguishers we have smoke detectors all of these types of things it just seems logical that our next step would be to put this type of unit in each dealership." Said Carlson.
Most large cities have a PAD or public access defibrillation program in place to keep people safe, but none are as prepared for an event as Sioux Falls.
"I know Kansas City, San Diego, Minneapolis they have PAD programs but here in Sioux Falls, per capita, we should have one of the largest PAD programs in United States." Said Smith.
And the orders for more keep coming in.
"I just got a new shipment in and just about all of them are gone so I'll reorder again and it only takes about a week to get them." Said Smith.
It's usually the doctors that get the credit for saving the life of a heart attack patient, and rightfully so. However, there's no doubt these little machines are lifelines and have proven they can make all the difference.
"Anything to increase the safety of the employees and customers is always a good thing." Said Carlson.
"The more people hear about it and become familiar with them and realize that they are an inexpensive way to save a life. I think they're realizing that this is something they definitely need to look into and take that measure to find the funding and get them in their facilities, schools, facilities, churches whatever maybe but they really just need to understand that it truly is a life-saving device." Said Smith.
During an emergency, AED's will talk you through the steps but many businesses also have Sioux Falls Fire Rescue come and do training with their employees as an added safety measure. For more information about the AED program just call 877-AT-AVERA.