Entities asked to register AEDs for dispatch usePolice chief says mapping of devices could save lives
WORTHINGTON — Unlike 35 other states in the U.S., Minnesota has no official laws or rules regarding registration of automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.
WORTHINGTON — Unlike 35 other states in the U.S., Minnesota has no official laws or rules regarding registration of automated external defibrillators, or AEDs. Several states require registration through the individual state; others require AED owners to register the device through local emergency services or law enforcement.
According to Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey, all of the officers on the Worthington Police Department and deputies in the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office carry AEDs in their squad cars, but there is no way to know where other defib devices are located in the county.
Having seen a report about a company that offers AED location subscriptions to dispatch centers, Cumiskey liked the idea, but decided there was no point in paying for something they could do themselves.
“There’s probably an easy way we can do this with our mapping software,” he said.
He is asking that all businesses, schools, nursing homes and other entities that have an AED on their property call or email, so the locations can be mapped.
An AED is a portable electronic device that diagnoses potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and applies an electric shock if needed so the heart can re-establish an effective rhythm. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be simple to use, and the diagnosis the machine performs makes it virtually impossible for the machine to shock someone who is not in need of the therapy.
“We’ve had lives saved with AEDs,” Cumiskey said.
When a person goes into cardiac arrhythmia, irreversible brain or tissue damage can occur within three to five minutes. For every minute a person in cardiac arrest goes without being successfully treated by defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by seven percent per minute. But if bystanders aren’t aware an AED is nearby, the device may not be used until emergency medical technicians, law enforcement or a rescue unit arrives.
“We have an AED at Memorial Auditorium, one at Prairie View, one at the YMCA,” Cumiskey said. “There’s in one right outside the law enforcement center and probably two of them charging somewhere in here right now.”
But Cumiskey could not say whether the local nursing homes have an AED, or if the local schools do. Even if he knew for sure that an entity had an AED, that wouldn’t mean he would know where it was kept.
Elliot Fisch, president and co-founder of AED Link, said his company mantra is “An AED doesn’t do any good if no one knows where it is at a time of need.” The AED Registry, which caught Cumiskey’s eye, is a system that generates and transmits up-to-date geographic information showing 911 dispatchers the locations of registered AEDs close to a sudden cardiac arrest victim. That information can be passed on to the person calling 911.
Registering an AED or a certified AED user is free, and Cumiskey encourages people to do so, but rather than pay a per capita fee of $600 per year with a start up fee of more than $1,000, Cumiskey believes the mapping software already in use by dispatch will work.
“When a 911 call comes in, the address shows up on a map,” he explained.
Registered AEDs will show up as icons on the map, so callers could immediately be informed of the whereabouts of the nearest defibrillator. The minutes saved not searching for a device could save a life.
“As soon as we start getting information about the whereabouts of the defibs, we can start mapping them,” Cumiskey said.
Entities that have an AED can send the location information to Cumiskey via email at email@example.com.
Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at