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It's shockingly simple to save a life.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a serious condition that causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Who experiences SCA?

Nationally, SCA is the #3 killer of Americans (The Institute of Medicine), with more than 300,000 cases per year (Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation). This means every 1-2 minutes, an American experiences SCA (National Center for Early Defibrillation). There is no victim profile – SCA can happen to anyone.

What can I do if someone around me experiences SCA?

Untreated, SCA survival rate is about 10% (The Institute of Medicine). With use of a lifesaving device called an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), the chance of survival increases by more than 30%. For every minute without treatment, survival decreases up to 10% (SCA Foundation).

If you see SCA, you need to act fast! Call 911, start chest compressions, find an AED, and follow the prompts.

What is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks for an abnormal heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock to the heart in an attempt to restore a normal rhythm.

Businesses and private residences can prepare for a SCA event by placing an AED at their worksite or home. If a device isn’t currently available, ask your employer or property manager to consider obtaining an AED.

How do I get an AED?

AEDs can be purchased by the general public through medical supply companies or online vendors. They are manufactured and sold under guidelines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may require a physician’s or osteopath’s prescription for the device. AEDs also require medical direction and registration of the device.

  • Get a prescription from a physician or osteopath of your choice, or request a prescription free of charge from the Seattle or King County Medical Director.
  • Receive guidance on how to use your AED by getting Medical Direction from a physician of your choice, or request Medical Direction free of charge from the Seattle or King County Medical Director.

AEDs only work if you can find them.

Registering an AED is an important step to knowing its location. It takes less than 5 minutes to add your device to the King County registry. When you register your AED, 911 dispatchers can match a SCA victim's location to the nearest AED so you can use it more quickly.

Today, there are more than 5,000 registered AEDs in King County – contributing to our county having one of the highest witnessed out-of-hospital defibrillation SCA survival rates in the world.

When seconds can mean life or death, make sure your organization is prepared.

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