It's essential to integrate early defibrillation into an effective emergency cardiac care system. This means employing the "chain of survival" concept. The components of this concept are:
- Early access to the emergency medical services system (call 9-1-1 immediately)
- Early CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) when needed
- Early defibrillation when indicated
- Early advanced cardiac care
To make early defibrillation possible, it's essential that a defibrillator be immediately available to emergency personnel responding to a cardiac arrest. Thus, all emergency ambulances and other emergency vehicles that respond to or transport heart patients should be equipped with a defibrillator.
What can I do to help improve access to AEDs in my community?
- Find out if the first-responder vehicles (ambulances, police cars and fire department vehicles) in your community are equipped with AEDs. If they are not, ask why.
- Speak to members of city councils, county boards and state legislatures. Advocate starting an early defibrillation program in your community, including equipping all first responders with AEDs.
- Support allocating funds to establish an early defibrillation program and to equip all first responders with AEDs in your community.
- Advocate and support regulatory changes in your state that expand the use of AEDs by a broader range of first responders.