N.Y. audit reveals public AEDs in need of better oversight

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An audit of by the city comptroller of Staten Island, N.Y., has shown that many of the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) placed in city parks and recreation centers are not properly maintained.

The audit revealed that the AEDs were not regularly inspected or maintained. Auditors also found that the devices were not properly identified with signs and did not have critical supplies needed to use them, such as backup batteries, gloves, masks and separate child and adult defibrillation pads, according to a news report in SIlive.com.

The inspection also showed did not have adequate site-specific plans for the use of AEDs, and some did not have a trained first responder available.

Since the audit, however, the Parks Department has said it will institute daily checks of its AEDs to ensure they are working properly, and perform thorough monthly inspections to make sure signs are in place to identify them, and supplies for them are adequate and up-to-date. They have also created standard operating procedures for the AED program, which includes conducting drills to improve response times and maintaining a master list of employees trained to use the devices.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing about 300,000 people annually, according to statistics from the American Heart Association. Studies show that 90 percent of those deaths can be prevented if someone on the scene begins cardiopulmonary resuscitation and uses a defibrillator within the first minute.