Abstract 15: Where Are Lifesaving Automated External Defibrillators Located and How Hard Is It to Find Them?
Background Although automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are lifesaving, little is known about where they are located or how to find them. We conducted a prospective study to locate AEDs in high-density employment areas of Philadelphia and characterize the process of door-to-door canvassing to identify devices.
Methods Block groups representing approximately the top 3rd of primary jobs in Philadelphia were identified using the 2009 Local Employment Dynamics database. All buildings in these block groups were canvassed between 9am-5pm EST over a 6-week period, July-August 2011. Buildings were characterized as accessible or inaccessible. For accessible buildings, data were collected regarding: address, location type, and presence/absence of an AED. For locations reported to have an AED, the number of devices, location description, and prior device use was collected. Process information was obtained, regarding the number of people contacted and time spent at each location. When permitted, AEDs were validated though visualization and photography.
Results Of 1420 buildings in 17 block groups, 949(67%) were accessible, but most 834(88%) did not have an AED. AEDs (n=283) were reported in 115(12%) buildings although few were validated through visualization 80(28%) and photo 68(24%). Security and liability concerns were often cited as reasons for not allowing device visualization. The location of AEDs in buildings was highly variable, though most were identified near an office, front desk, kitchen or lobby. Few AEDs, 10(4%) were previously used. In buildings with AEDs, several employees (median 2, range 1-8 people) had to be contacted to ascertain information about AED locations and characteristics, which required considerable time (mean 4 minutes; range 1-55 minutes).
Conclusion Canvassing is a feasible, but time consuming method for identifying AEDs in high employment areas. Few buildings reported having AEDs and many could not be visualized and, even then, could not be visualized quickly. This raises concerns about access to these devices in an emergency. To improve cardiac arrest outcomes, continued efforts are needed to improve AED access and awareness.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.