The AED – do you know where it is?

All of our training courses currently include training for AED use. You get to see AED machines and to use an AED. It’s an important part of life saving… but the training only works if you can get one quickly, so do you know where your nearest AED is?

Imagine…. You’re at a family dinner out somewhere locally. Granddad collapses at the table. Thankfully you were on our course just last week and you know exactly what to do. You find he’s not breathing and send someone else for an AED while you start CPR.

For Granddad’s best chance of survival – Where do you send them?


Survival of the fittest (bystander)

From the time a person has a cardiac arrest (their heart stops and they need CPR and an AED) their survival rate drops about 10% for every minute that passes. By the time six minutes have passed, the survival rate is very low. So what do we do in those few minutes?

You (the first aid attendant) arrive & check the scene and the person. You call bystanders to help. You assess airways and breathing and find there isn’t any. You send the nearest bystander to call EMS and another to get an AED, then start CPR. (If any of this is unfamiliar – book some training!). I’m guessing about a minute has passed already.

Now make sure you have chosen a super-fit bystander to get the AED. They have to run ‘there’, get it and run back. Let’s assume they have no trouble finding it, or convincing the device owner to hand it over! That means the AED must be at most within two and a half minutes run. A recent study suggests that’s about 0.1 miles or 0.18 km. If you choose a super-fit, race-ready bystander then this increases – potentially even up to 0.5 miles if you’ve chosen someone who can do a 4-5 minute mile and is ready to.

Let’s imagine then, that we’re somewhere in the Sea 2 Sky area and someone has a cardiac arrest. Let’s also suggest that bystanders here are fitter than the average North American, but you’re unlikely to find an Olympic runner immediately at hand. The casualty is going to need an AED within about a quarter of a mile, or half a km.

AED being carried by young girl

Not an Olympic runner, yet.

So where is the AED?

As a critical part of the chain of survival, it would be good to have one available! Do you know where the AED is? Can you find them locally? Add any that you know about to the comment box, for all our sakes! We’re going to start asking around to find out for you – and eventually we’ll create a map of them, so that you know where to find them – or at least where to send your fit bystander.

Here’s your starter:

  • Brennan Park, Squamish
  • London Drugs, Squamish,
  • Elaho Medical Centre, Squamish
  • Totem Hall, Squamish
  • Meadow Park, Whistler

And now Squamish AEDs on a Google Map!

Are you likely to get an AED?

Well, look at the list. You can judge.

The research study was done in Philadelphia County. 21% of arrests happened within ‘the 0.1 mile zone’ – but researchers also assumed that the bystander would be walking, not running. Make of that whatever you will, they apparently also have 2,300 AEDs within the study area. I think we’ll be lucky to get to 23 in the Sea 2 Sky area… but we’ll find out!

What if you’re unlucky?

Or at least the casualty you are helping hasn’t collapsed in a convenient location. Well, we’re not saying don’t try. Start CPR as always – back to this basic skill. But now you know where the AEDs are, so you have an idea if you’re likely to get one. If not – do the CPR anyway and wait for EMS, because you can be sure they’ll be bringing an AED.

Final words…

  • (Coming next….. should you keep an AED at home?)
  • Watch for our ‘mystery AED location’ photo on Facebook – you could win a prize.
  • For now, remember to share your knowledge in the box below. You could just save someone’s life!
  • Want to know more about AED use & training? – contact us

About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at Squamish General Hospital as the pharmacist manager when not busy training safety
This entry was posted in AED, CPR, research and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The AED – do you know where it is?

  1. Kevin says:

    Interesting food for thought, Tony. With the likely long time that will elapse before an assistant can return with an AED, if you’re short on help, I would keep them around to switch off on doing compressions. Effectiveness of compressions by a single person drops off dramatically after 2 minutes (even after one), so keeping the patients brain and heart oxygenated with effective fast and deep compressions until EMS or First Responders arrive would seem to be the best option. Knowing that one is nearby could certainly save a life though. Thanks for the article and hopefully it gets populated with more public AED locations!

    • Tony Howarth says:


      I’m inclined to agree. Once we know that EMS is coming then there’s limited chance of getting an AED before they arrive. The official average time for first response in Sea 2 Sky urban areas is 8 minutes. Unless you happen to be at one of the AED locations, then keeping your bystanders close and working may well be the best option.

  2. Pingback: First Aid – a Blog Round-up | Safety un-Limited

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