PEI AED Registry Program
Linking community AEDs with Emergency Health Services to help save lives
The PEI Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Registry Program is a voluntary online registry database that allows individuals, organizations and communities in Prince Edward Island to register their AED. Island EMS and Medacom Atlantic’s 9-1-1 dispatch centre will use the information in the registry to locate the life-saving devices. They will advise callers who are assisting individuals in sudden cardiac arrest where the closest publicly accessible defibrillator is located. Callers will be asked to retrieve it or ask someone else for assistance. Instructions will be provided on how to use the AED until the paramedics arrive.
Shockingly Simple as 1, 2, 3 …
When a person’s heart unexpectedly stops beating it is called a sudden cardiac arrest. A sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. Cardiac arrest happens without warning and there are often no symptoms; it can even be fatal in healthy children and teens.
Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur in Canada each year - that is one every 13 minutes. Defibrillation, when combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) within the first few minutes, can more than double the chance of survival. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by 7 to 10%.
An AED is a portable electronic device that can be used to treat an individual experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. The device evaluates an individual’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock is needed. The AED will not accidentally shock someone as the device reads the heart rhythm and will only deliver a shock if needed.
Making defibrillators easily accessible has the potential to save lives in PEI each year. The PEI AED Registry Program will:
- Ensure that all registered AEDs in PEI are properly maintained and up-to-date;
- Promote an increased quality of AEDs throughout the province;
- Promote AED training;
- Increase survival rates for sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrests; and
- Increase awareness that AEDs can save a life.
How can I register my AED?
Is there a registration fee?
Do I need to be certified to register my AED?
Does my AED have to be accessible 24-hours a day?
How will people know where to find my AED?
Where is the best location for me to install my AED?
What do I do after using an AED?
What are the benefits of having an AED?
Who can use an AED?
How can I purchase an AED?
How do I maintain my AED?
What is a sudden cardiac arrest?
What is a heart attack?
What is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?
Even if you do not wish to make your AED publicly accessible, you can still benefit from including your device as part of the AED Registry.
Your information will also be added to the National AED Registry and shared with Island EMS and Medacom Atlantic as operators of PEI’s 9-1-1 service.
No, there is no cost to register with this program. You are responsible for purchasing your own AED. If an AED has been donated to your facility or organization, you are responsible for the costs of maintaining that AED (replacing the battery and pads when they expire or are used).
No. You do not need to be CPR or AED certified to be part of the registry, although it is strongly encouraged.
There is an “availability” section on the registration form. Here you will be able to identify when your AED will be accessible to the public. Should a sudden cardiac arrest occur near your AED and outside of the accessible hours that you have identified, it will not show up as an available AED.
Your AED should be clearly marked and identifiable within your facility. It is important to let all staff and visitors know that you have an AED on site. In addition to selecting a highly visible location for your AED, having signage identifying the unit is very important.
Once you have registered your AED(s) with Health PEI, you will be supplied with a window sign as part of your registration package. This sign indicates that your facility is equipped with an AED. It is suggested that the sign be posted in a highly visible location.
Picking a location for your AED is important. It is recommended that you select a permanent location for your AED, as moving it around can cause confusion in an emergency. It is important to familiarize staff and/or family members with the location of your AED(s) so that they can easily retrieve it in an emergency. The goal is to provide defibrillation within 3-5 minutes.
While there is no single formula to determine the placement of AEDs, there are several elements that should be considered:
- Visibility: Do not place your AED in a drawer, desk or behind a locked door. An AED should be installed at or near eye level and in a high traffic area.
- Accessibility: Install your AED in an area free of any barriers or limitations for responders of all abilities. The ideal installation height from the ground is approximately 4 feet.
- Response time: The optimal response time is three minutes or less.
- Physical layout of the facility: Response time should be based on how long it will take a responder walking at a rapid pace to reach the individual experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. Be sure to take into consideration areas with difficult access (secured areas within a building, elevators, etc.)
- Visitors: Facilities that host large numbers of visitors may be more likely to experience a sudden cardiac arrest where an AED is needed.
- Telephone: A location near a telephone that might be used to call 9-1-1.
- Specialty areas: Facilities where strenuous physical activity occurs may be more likely to experience a situation where an AED is needed. Specialty areas should be considered to have a higher risk.
Once an AED is used, there are some important steps to take. You may need to provide vital information about the incident to medical personnel taking care of the individual. You will also need to prepare the AED to go back into a “ready state” in the event it is needed again. See your user manual and follow the information that is provided.
A sudden cardiac arrest can happen at any time, at any age and in any location. By immediately performing CPR and using an AED, you provide the patient with an increased chance of survival.
Research has shown that the best chance of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest is when a bystander performs CPR and applies a defibrillator. Ideally, an AED should be administered within 3-5 minutes. Publicly accessible defibrillator programs have been increasing in popularity, with the goal of increasing AED awareness and usage.
It is important to note that a defibrillator does not “restart” the heart. The heart must be in an irregular rhythm for the defibrillator to deliver a “shock” and not all sudden cardiac arrest patients are in this type of rhythm. If you encounter this during a resuscitation situation, continue to provide CPR until medically trained responders arrive at your location. Not being able to “shock” does always mean that you are providing ineffective CPR or wrongly using the AED.
An AED can be used by anyone, regardless if they have been trained on how to use them or not. However, AED and CPR training and familiarity will increase confidence in the bystander, which will lead to more efficient CPR and a more timely AED application and usage.
An AED will only advise the bystander to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation. They are also made to include voice and visual prompts. For this reason, AEDs are easy and safe to use.
Emergency Health and Planning Services of Health PEI is in charge of the PEI AED Registry. Health PEI does not sell AEDs nor does it promote the sale of any one specific make or model.
All AED maintenance items should be covered by the manufacturer or vendor you purchased your AED from; refer to the manual that came with your AED at the time of purchase or donation. If you have any concerns about your device, contact your vendor.
A sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem within the heart. The heart goes into an erratic and ineffective rhythm and cannot pump blood to the rest of the body. Within minutes, it stops entirely. This results in ineffective blood and oxygen flow to vital organs.
Signs of a sudden cardiac arrest include:
- sudden collapse;
- unresponsiveness to touch or sound;
- no breathing or abnormal breathing or only gasping; and
- no movement or no pulse.
A sudden cardiac arrest may have a variety of causes, including heart disease, drowning, stroke, electrocution, suffocation, drug overdose, and trauma.
A heart attack is not the same as a sudden cardiac arrest. A heart attack occurs when blood flow is reduced or lost due to a blocked coronary artery. The person is generally conscious and is in discomfort.
Signs of heart attack include: pale colour, profuse sweating, chest pain, nausea and/or vomiting, shortness of breath.
While they are not the same, a heart attack can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest if it is not quickly treated. This is why both are considered serious medical emergencies and 9-1-1 should be called as soon as possible.
CPR is an emergency procedure in which the heart and lungs are made to work by compressing the chest overlying the heart and forcing air into the lungs. CPR is used to maintain circulation when the heart stops pumping on its own.
Although the AED Registry concentrates on getting a defibrillator to an individual experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest, making sure that the devices are ready to use, CPR is equally important to increase an individual’s chance of survival. This is why it is recommended that you take a CPR and AED training course.
If you are interested in learning CPR and how to use an AED, please contact any one of the following organizations:
The AED Registry is operated in partnership with Health PEI, Heart & Stroke - PEI, Island EMS, and Medacom Atlantic.