AEDs: Powerful, Portable Life Savers In Your Community


Automated external defibrillators can save lives. In fact, use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, can increase the chance of surviving by 70 percent. Over the last year, two separate Northern Colorado news articles – this one and this one – paint a picture of how important AEDs can be to a community.


Consider these statistics from the American Heart Association:

  • More than 350,000 people suffered sudden cardiac arrest also called SCA

  • An individual dies from SCA every 1.6 minutes

  • Only 46.1 percent had a bystander perform CPR, and the survivor rate was only 12 percent

That’s why Banner Health’s facilities in Northern Colorado are working with their communities to make sure they are readily available.


What is an automated external defibrillator?


Dave Bressler is the director and chief paramedic at North Colorado Medical Center’s Paramedic Services. He provided information about AEDs.


Weighing just under 7 pounds, the AEDs found throughout Northern Colorado provide real-time feedback to the individual rendering assistance with the AED. As soon as you turn it some models, the AED speaks with a calm, soothing voice, telling the person the step-by-step protocol to use the device.


Once the person places the pads on the victim, the AED begins to analyze the heart rhythm and can either instruct the user to shock or tells the user to begin CPR. With CPR, a built-in metronome keeps the tempo for compressions.


“The AED will provide real time feedback to the person and let them know how effectively they are doing CPR,” said Bressler. “If you’re not pushing hard enough, too slow or too fast, the AED provides you instruction throughout the event.”


Do you need training?


Bressler noted, while initial and ongoing training is recommended, an AED is not difficult to use. Taking a class in CPR can help to alleviate the fear of the unknown. It also teaches how important CPR is to the person suffering SCA. This can also help give you the confidence with what to do when it is needed.


“The one time you might have to use the training not only changes your life, but it changes a lot of lives, Bressler said.


“Remember, you may be the only hope for the person who collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest.”