Sudden cardiac arrest can strike individuals of any age, at any time, and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Every year approximately 250,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest. That's one every two minutes.
The Public Access Defribrillation (PAD) program is to provide the training and resources to aid in the successful resuscitation of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This goal can be achieved by making the equipment and training readily available to the public. The success of a PAD Program depends on three important factors - the location of equipment, training of personnel, and public education.
Cardiac arrest usually results from some underlying form of heart disease. Most cardiac arrest cases are due to abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) is the most common arrhythmia that causes cardiac arrest. VF is a condition in which the heart's electrical impulses suddenly become chaotic, often without warning. That causes the heart's pumping action to abruptly stop. When cardiac arrest occurs, the victim loses consciousness, has no pulse and stops breathing normally. Death follows within minutes.
Defibrillation is the only known therapy for VF. This technique of giving an electrical shock can restore the heart's normal rhythm if it's done within minutes of arrest. The success is highly time dependent. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, a victim's chances of survival decrease by 7-10%. After as little as 10 minutes, very few resuscitation attempts are successful.
Currently, 5-7% of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive nationwide. Research has shown that five actions can increase the chance of survival. These actions are known as the Chain of Survival.
The 5 links in the adult Chain of Survival are:
- Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
- Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
- Rapid defibrillation
- Effective advanced life support
- Integrated post-cardiac arrest care
The Corona Fire Department, in cooperation with the American Heart Association, is working to strengthen all five links in the Chain of Survival.
Elements of a PAD Program:
- An organization that is willing to implement AEDs into their Health & Safety program.
- A prescribing physician that oversees the program.
- A training organization.
- Employees/members that are trained in AED usage and in CPR.
- A plan for ongoing training and AED checks and maintenance.
- A program that integrates with the local EMS system.
For more information, please contact the Corona Fire Department - Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Coordinator. 951-736-2220 or by email to Fire@CoronaCA.gov
American Heart Association Links
- AED Implementation Guide (American Heart Association)
- Working Against Time Brochure (American Heart Association)