Public Access Defibrillators
PADís are Public Access Defibrillators. PADís are a type of Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and are very simple to operate. PADís are used in the treatment of Sudden Cardiac Arrest or Death, (SCA).
Each day 600 people die from SCA. It strikes without warning and only 5- 10% of its victims survive. Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs as a result of an electrical system failure within the cardiac muscle, or heart. This failure results in the heart beating ineffectively and in inadequate perfusion throughout the circulatory system. This abnormal heart rhythm is called Ventricular Fibrillation, or V-F.
There are risk factors associated with SCA and they include:
- Previous Hear Attack
- Previous SCA Event
- Family History of SCA
- Heart Failure
- Fast Rhythm in lower part of heart.
It is important to note that SCA is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack is the death or damage to part of the heart muscle due to a lack of proper oxygenation.
The proper treatment and the key to survival from an SCA is early defibrillation. The success of defibrillation is highly time-sensitive. For each minute that goes by without defibrillation, the survival rate decreases 10%.
For over 20 years firefighters, paramedics and other medical professionals have provided this vital skill in the delivery of emergency medical services. In-field defibrillation has its roots in the Seattle area. Seattle was the first place to implement the now-famous Medic One Program. While traditionally paramedics have been the only non-physician personnel who have been authorized to provide this life-saving skill, Mercer Island Fire Department led the country by providing this skill at the EMT level. The Mercer Island EMT-Defibrillation program was the first of its kind in the world and its development and implementation were started by several of the original founding fathers of the Medic One program, including Dr. Mickey Eisenberg; Dr. Floyd Short, and Hunter Simpson, former CEO of Physio-Control. Mercer Island began its program in 1972.
Today early defibrillation has advanced in a manner that allows trained citizens the ability to provide this invaluable life-saving skill. This is crucial to the reduction of deaths from SCA as often it is a citizen that is first to arrive or witness SCA.
King County, in partnership with Seattle and King County Public Health; area Fire Departments, and the King County EMS Division, have implemented a community responder program to address the SCA problem. Known as the Seattle-King County Community CPR-AED Program, it is designed to improve the survival rate from Sudden Cardiac Death in Seattle and King County by reducing the time to defibrillation by having community responders use an AED before firefighters and paramedics arrive. Organizations and individuals may purchase a PAD unit and with minimal training will be able to provide this tool and skill in a life-saving moment.
In 1998 the Washington State Legislature enacted legislation (RCW 70.54.310), that grants a person or entity that acquire a defibrillator, immunity from civil liability. Individuals are also covered by the Good Samaritan act (RCW 4.24.300).
Organizations that are interested can obtain more information from the King County Medic EMS website.
Mercer Island organizations or individuals may also obtain more information and assistance from Battalion Chief Les Kenworthy. The Mercer Island Fire Department is very involved with the implementation of these programs and provides oversight to all PAD units within the community.