My family and I just returned from Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. As the owner of DXE Medical, a company that sells automated external defibrillators among other medical equipment and accessories, I always notice the placement of AEDs. Whether in arenas, airports, schools, fitness centers or other private places, I always take note when I see one. Here are some of the things I notice:
- What kind of AED is it (Zoll, Physio-Control, Cardiac Science, Philips, Defibtech or Heartsine)?
- Where is it located and why? Is it placed for maximum visibility?
- Is it the best choice of AED for the specific setting it is in?
- Are the pads and battery current (the visual indicator will tell you)?
- Is there a check tag that confirms when the device was last checked?
Then there are things that I wonder about:
- Why did they purchase the AED? Because they were forced to by litigation or mandate?
- What channel did they purchase the device through? A local distributor, an online retailer, a manufacturer’s rep or direct from the maker?
- Who is in charge of maintaining the AED, if anyone, and how well do they monitor it? Do they rely on their own reminders or use a service, such as EnPro, to ensure they are in compliance?
- Has the AED ever been used in a rescue? Did it work? What was the outcome?
I must say that Disney World does a superb job with their AED program, from what this educated observer and industry expert can tell. The coverage is excellent and I tried to make note of every AED I saw. However, I quickly lost count. They seemed to be everywhere and well within the recommended 90 second brisk walk to get to a victim of a sudden cardiac arrest. The American Heart Association and many other reputable organizations advise that there is only a 5 minute window from the time the victim collapses from SCA to having the AED at their side and delivering the life saving shock. The AEDs were well-marked and the cabinets were zip-tied shut. This small security measure prevents people (children mostly) from succumbing to their curiosity and opening the alarmed AED cabinet to see what it contains. The zip tie is easily broken in an emergency and is replaced cheaply.
My one concern was that the frosted glass in the AED cabinet prevented an observer from determining whether or not the visual indicator on the AED was confirming that it was ready for use.
Other than that, I give Disney the highest marks for their concern for their visitors. The hotels, transportation (ferries, monorail facilities, etc.) and the parks themselves were littered with Philips AEDs. It is clear that Disney understands the importance of providing this life saving device to the millions of people who visit their parks annually. Years ago, Disney and their subsidiary, ABC radio, decided to trade in their Lifepak CR+ AEDs in favor of the Philips Onsite AED and Dixie Medical was the recipient of the trades.
My family visits Disney twice a year and I feel a sense of relief knowing that the parks and resorts place such a high value on the well-being of its’ patrons and employees. It’s just more evidence of the “magic” that makes Disney World so special. So when you’ve waited in line for 90 minutes to ride Dumbo in July with 100% humidity, just remember that Disney actually cares about your safety and well-being …not just your wallet.