HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There may be more than a thousand Automatic External Defibrillators, or AED's, on Oahu. But nobody knows exactly where they are located.
The city's Emergency Management Department wants to find out, so that they can be more easily found in a cardiac emergency.
AED's have increased the survival rate for people who've gone into cardiac arrest. They're found at airports, in restaurants, in schools and at shopping malls. They have various owners, including federal, state and city and county governments, as well as businesses, and even private individuals.
"AED's were placed at all of Hawaii's airports five years ago, and the cardiac arrest survival rate increased from five percent to more than 70 percent," said Dr. James Ireland, Honolulu Emergency Services Department Director. "We hope to achieve these same results for the rest of the City and County of Honolulu."
"We want to be able to have it in our dispatch center," said city Emergency Medical Services supervisor Ian Santee. "And when somebody calls 911 and says 'Hey, there's a cardiac arrest here,' we can tell them, 'Hey, turn around, there's an AED right here. Go grab it and help that person."
The location of the AED will show up on a map in front of an EMS dispatcher.
"They roll a mouse over it, it's going to pop up a tool tip that's going to have the serial number of the AED, location, address, description of where it is, and business hours," said EMS college summer intern Robert Barry. "And from there, they can direct the caller to where he needs to be."
But first, EMS has to locate and catalog those AED's. Santee and Barry will be using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to do that.
"I have a hand-held GPS locator," Barry said. "I come to the AED, I hold down a button, and it's going to pop up a waypoint, which is going to save it for me. That's going to give the longitude, latitude, elevation, and I can plug it into our computer system and it'll show up on our map."
While locating the AED's, EMS also will offer a free inspection to make sure the device is working properly.
EMS also wants to put the information into a smartphone app that the public can use to locate an AED quickly in an emergency. There are already some apps, but one used by this reporter showed only publicly-owned AED's, like those at Honolulu Airport.
The program is similar to one launched in San Ramon, Calif. Honolulu EMS said if more people learn CPR and AED use and download the app, there would be a larger pool of potential rescuers who would be available to help, and increase patient survival before emergency responders arrive.
For more information or to request a free AED inspection and mapping, contact EMS at 723-7838.